One of the biggest misconceptions people have about me is that I must eat really well and make fabulous intricate dinners because I have a food blog. My passion for food is high, but laziness and lack of time and energy will usually win out. People will ask me eagerly, “What did you eat for dinner?” and I shamefully answer “Toast.”
I’ve been searching for easy to put together meals and this mushroom and black bean tortilla casserole are mostly made from pantry staples. This is a “throw random ingredients together” recipe where you can fool around with what’s kicking around in your kitchen and still turn out with something decent.
Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 green onions, chopped
1 small red onion, diced (you can also use white, just cook them with the mushrooms)
1 tomato, diced
Juice of 1 lime, plus extra to squeeze on top
8 corn tortillas, warmed and halved
2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (substitutes: cheddar, a spicy cheese like jalapeño gouda)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, 7 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Add black beans and stir to combine. Cook until beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Combine black bean mixture with tomatoes, green and red onions, jalapeño and lime juice.
4. Arrange tortilla halves in 9×13″ pan so that they cover the bottom. There will be some gaps. Top with half the bean mixture and 1/2 cup salsa, then sprinkle with one-third the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa, and cheese. Top with remaining tortilla halves, salsa, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake until center is hot and cheese melts, 10 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbling, 5 minutes.
I’m a little (okay…a lot) late to jump on the quinoa bandwagon. I wasn’t interested in eating healthier so this little superfood was never really on my radar as something to try.
My co-worker is a quinoa lover and kept urging me to try it. I caved into the peer pressure.
The first time I tried cooking it, I put in too much water. I still find it more finicky than rice to cook with all those little faux grains sticking everywhere.
I love The Kitchn’s quinoa, black bean and heirloom recipe. It’s become a weekly ritual for me to make this because it was just so simple and flavourful. I love using cherry tomatoes instead of cutting up heirlooms because of the tiny bursts of flavour you get once you bite down on them. If I don’t scarf the entire thing for dinner it makes for a great light but filling lunch.
How do you cook quinoa? I once tried it in the rice cooker to cook it ahead of time and it became mush. What is your favourite quinoa recipe?
This was a special request from R. I don’t usually think of a heavy comforting meal such as mac and cheese as a hot weather meal.
I went to Alex Farm Products in Yorkville and I mentioned I needed a sharp cheddar for this recipe. He told me that the recipe sounded “suspicious” and steered me away from it. Why not a sharp cheese? Because of its age it won’t melt as nicely and will be grainy. The taste will also be very strong and smelly (I didn’t mind that part so much — I love a stinky cheese). So I bought a medium white cheddar that he recommended.
This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that is simple to make. Just remember to keep an eye on it when you’re using the broiler because the breadcrumbs burnt while I was looking for something. Oops.
I wasn’t too thrilled with this recipe, it felt like it was missing something and didn’t have the “cheese” flavour I wanted. Maybe because I used a medium cheddar?
Obviously work hasn’t slowed down my obsessive cookbook collecting as I now have a Cook’s Illustrated subscription and bought a new cookbook.
I love how easy to prepare this dish was. The relish alone would be a great topping for chicken, pasta, or on a salad. I’m usually anti-raisins in my food, but I’m slowly warming up to them. They definitely add a nice sweetness to the dish.
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup raisins
Zest and juice of 1 lemon*
3 Tablespoons olive oil**
4 fish fillets (book calls for salmon, I used rainbow trout)
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Put nuts on a baking sheet and pop them in while the oven is preheating for about 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Put raisins and zest in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
3. When the oven is done preheating, salt and pepper the fish. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
4. While the fish is cooking, drain the water from the raisins and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and almonds. Season to taste.
5. When the fish is done, make a bed of spinach and put the fish on top. Pour some of the lemon relish on top.
*book calls for slivered zest that you can make using a vegetable peeler and then slicing it thinly. I blindly didn’t see the directions for this on the page and just used my Microplane.
** I recommend using really good olive oil as it’s being eaten straight up and not being cooked with. It makes the dish stand out. A fantastic place in Toronto is the Olive Pit (877 Queen Street West) where you can taste all the different oils that they have.
Only recently I’ve become a fan of Indian food. Because everything is so spicy, it was hard for me to like it. Most of it is still spicy, but I tolerate my face being flush and “glowy”. A lot of Indian recipes are very time consuming with many spices so I bought Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking.
The recipes are very straight-forward, but you will still need a variety of spices to make a lot of dishes in this book.
Silken Chicken is a favourite of mine, it’s moist and flavourful and the only thing that takes time is the time it takes the oven to preheat.