Family · Family Favorites · Vegan · Vegetarian

Taco Stew…a beloved family favorite

Taco Stew has been a family favorite since the girls were little tykes. They loved it and it was another way I could get them to eat vegetables. In a pinch, I have substituted different vegetables and cheeses with equally good results.  Typically I double or even triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. You could easily make this without the beef (or turkey) and omit the cheese and have a vegan version of Taco Stew.

This recipe appeared in the Denver Post many years ago as a recipe a young boy submitted for a recipe contest and won.  Brilliant!

TACO STEW

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
15 ounce cans whole kernel corn, drained
10 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
15 ounce can pinto beans in chili sauce (or black beans)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix (2 tablespoons)
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
Tortilla chips
Grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

  • Brown beef and onion.  Drain and rinse with hot water to remove excess fat. Combine all ingredients, except tortilla chips and cheese, in a Dutch oven. Simmer on low.Taco Stew Taco Stew
  • To serve, crumble tortilla chips in a serving bowl and cover with a generous heaping of stew. Sprinkle with cheese.
Family · Family Favorites · Skinny

Layered Mexican Dip…Low Cal Style

Our family was gathering for a late Sunday afternoon dinner and Mexican food was planned.  I needed a good starter but wanted something that wasn’t high fat/high calorie.  I have had 7 layer dip many times and this is a low cal twist to that recipe.  I used 2 cups of refried beans and 1 cup salsa for the bottom layer and otherwise, used the recipe as below.

It was a great little dip and I like it served with vegetables (especially Jicama) along with the chips.

MEXICAN LAYERED DIP

1 cup refried beans, vegetarian/low-fat
1/2 cup salsa
1-1/2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 avocados, pitted, peeled & mashed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
juice from 1/2 lime

TOPPINGS:

1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced black olives
cilantro sprigs

DIPPERS:

raw vegetables spears; red/yellow/orange bell peppers, jicama, daikon radish, carrots, celery, etc.
tortilla chips or strips

  • In small bowl, combine and stir beans and salsa. In separate bowl, combine and stir Greek yogurt and taco seasoning. In third bowl, combine and stir mashed avocado, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Use a 8×8″ pan or bowl or similar size.  Place bean mixture on the bottom, guacamole  in the middle, yogurt mixture on top; smoothing each into an even layer using the tip of a table knife.
  • Sprinkle on toppings: shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives. Top with a sprig of cilantro.  May be assembled, covered, and refrigerated up to 6 hours in advance. Serve with veggie spears and/or tortilla chips.
Recipe slightly adapted from Yummy Life
Family Favorites · New Favorite

Hot Wing Dip…anytime

Hot Wing Dip came into my life thanks to oldest daughter Megan’s friend, Jacqui.  It was instant love for both of us, although Megan prefers Ranch dressing vs. Blue Cheese dressing.  Either way, it’s a hearty appetizer that is great to share at a potluck, tailgate, Olympics gathering, or just because! This time I split the recipe into two 8×8″ or 9×9″ casseroles to share at different events.

Hot Wing Dip has the same impact as hot wings but 1) not as messy and 2) easier to prepare. What’s not to love?

HOT WING DIP

2 bricks cream cheese, softened
16 oz. bottle Franks red-hot BUFFALO sauce
16 oz. bottle Blue Cheese dressing (or Ranch dressing)
6-8 cooked chicken breasts (depending on if you like it creamier or a bit drier)
1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • Bake or steam the chicken, cool. Cut into smaller pieces. At this point you can either shred the chicken or place in a food processor to chop.

  • Combine chicken with cream cheese, sauce, dressing and 1/2 of chopped green onions (white portion). Sprinkle top of dip with chopped green portion of onions. Place in greased 9×13″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes.

Serve hot with corn or tortilla chips, Ritz crackers, and celery.

New Favorite

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars…treat from Sarah

Some days that seem dark and depressing can be brightened by the gift of food…particularly my favorite antidepressant, chocolate.  Daughter, Sarah, was at the house and we decided to try out this new recipe she found on Pinterest/Pinch of Yum.

I can attest it is a big Yum!  I’m not a fan of cheesecake but a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies. This reminds me of chocolate chips cookies on steroids.

Interesting enough, my dark day brightened thanks to Ms. Sarah and Mr. Chocolate!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE CHEESECAKE BARS

1 stick butter, unsalted (1/2 cup), softened
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (less if you don’t like salty/sweet)
½ cup rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cream the butter, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture in with the butter and sugar, mixing well after each addition.
  • Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  • Make the cheesecake filling: Cream the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Press half to two-thirds of the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour the cheesecake filling over the dough.
  • Crumble the remaining dough and sprinkle over the top, OR roll it into a flat layer and place it over the cheesecake layer.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until tops is lightly browned and cheesecake layer is set. Serve warm or cold and store leftover bars in refrigerator.
Family Favorites · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Fresh Peach Salsa…Oh my!

Peach Salsa was a new discovery a few years ago.  We’re lucky to live in the great state of Colorado which produces some of the finest peaches in the world.  I love salsa, but fresh peach salsa is my favorite.  My family has grown very fond of it and we can’t wait to have the first peach salsa of the season.

Peach Salsa was served last year as one of the dishes at daughter Megan’s bridal shower and included in the favor of three of her favorite dips.  Today we’ll savor it and enjoy the last few days of summer in Colorado.

PEACH SALSA

2 cups diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
fresh lime juice
salt

Mix all ingredients together. Fantastic with chips; also great with grilled fish or chicken.

Family Favorites · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cowboy Caviar

When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be a rootin’, tootin’ cowgirl just like I saw on TV…Sky King, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke and so many more. I really have dated myself. My parents indulged my desire, with my dreamy cowgirl outfit and boots. Smokin’ hot, right?

Cowgirl Cathy

Now, the closest I get to being a cowgirl is 1) taking my once a decade horse ride or 2) making Cowboy Caviar.  I feel so rustic, and healthy, when I eat it, aside from the chips that are a ‘must serve’.  Ordinary tortilla chips are good but my new favorite, Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips, are the best! Even better, they are gluten-free.

COWBOY CAVIAR

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 firm-ripe avocado
15 ounce can black-eyed peas
11 ounce can corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
salt chopped
fresh cilantro to taste
1 bag tortilla chips (or 2 cups finely shredded cabbage for salad)

  • In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit and cut avocado into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
  • Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro and tomatoes to avocado, mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste.
  • Serve pea mixture with chips as an appetizer or add cabbage to make a salad.
New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Kale Chips…for the chipaholic in me!

KALE CHIPS

My oldest daughter first told me about making kale chips.  I like kale and I LOVE chips so what’s not to like?  She didn’t have a recipe to give me but explained how she made them.  I tried it and was instantly a fan.  Good for me, crispy/salty and easy….a winner!

KALE CHIPS

1 bunch fresh kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (or flavored salt of your liking)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking sheet.
  • Wash the kale and dry thoroughly.   Remove the stem from the kale leaves.
  • Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  • Place kale on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and salt.
Raw kale with oil and salt
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges brown.  Watch carefully because the kale burns easily.
Family Favorites · Garden

Fresh Tomato Salsa … just in time for the weekend

Garden Tomatoes

Every year I plant a vegetable garden with several varieties of tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, cilantro, basil, rosemary and thyme.  2011 was not my best year in the garden.  Tomatoes were late to set but were coming on strong just in time for the first frost.  I picked all of the green tomatoes and brought them in the house to ripen.  Today is the day that this last memory of summer will create a wonderful fresh tomato salsa to share with neighbors and family this weekend.

Salsa is wonderful with chips but also a great topping for fresh fish, chicken, or even to dress a salad.  Or if you’re desperate for salsa, just eat it with a spoon!  My husband and I once observed a gentleman in a restaurant simply take the bowl of free salsa, crush in the free chips for his version of Gazpacho and then leave.  I’m not a fan of that behavior, but what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

FRESH TOMATO SALSA

4 small (2 cups) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
8 ounces tomato sauce

Mix together. Chill and serve.