Tag Archives: black beans

Rainy Day Squash Boats

I’m all for rain, but what’s with the threatening skies every time I have a day off!? Not being able to hang laundry outside really throws a wrench into the rest of my week. 

Rrrrr…. :x

Oh well. It’s good for the garden, right? Besides, a rainy day is the perfect time to take care of some things on the To-Do list and spend some playtime in the kitchen!

To-Do for Today? Baby food!

Back when I was prego, I got a lot of cr*p from people when I said I wanted to make my own baby food (among other things…) I never said I wanted to make every single bite of it, but I did want my baby to eat homemade food whenever possible. You should have heard all the comments I got…“You just wait…you won’t have time”…”Must be nice to have that much free time on your hands”…”Ha ha…I said that, too, and then I woke up to reality.” I heard ‘em all. Some people just laughed at me and rolled their eyes.

For those people, this is for you.

I timed it, and it took me all of 20 minutes during my son’s midday nap to turn one organic mango and 3 organic peaches into 7 servings of fresh, healthy, beautiful baby food. I mean, come on…it’s not rocket science.

Only the nice fleshy parts are included.

One for the next day at Grammie’s house, and the rest for the freezer. He’s not eating a whole lot at once right now, so I’m still making small batches. Once we graduate up to big batches, it will be even more efficient. 

I paid a total of $5 for the lot, and I don’t have to worry about all these scary recalls. Priceless, in my opinion.

It’s that easy, and believe me, I don’t have ANY spare time on my hands these days.

Note to self: People will always tell you YOU CAN’T. Always know that YOU CAN. (especially when little eyes are watching your example and taking notes…)

Once that was done, the sun came out so grilling came to mind. I have vowed not to shop for a few days because I want to use up some of the masses of random groceries taking over my kitchen, so I started rummaging…

Hmmm….a few yellow summer squash from the garden. Those are fresh and perishable, so they definitely need to be involved here…

Quinoa needs to be used up….have a can of black beans….some tomato sauce…garlic, sea salt….hmmm….

Squash boats! Sort of. They were too small to dig out the middles and stuff, but they were happy to be topped with a yummy quinoa something-or-other.

Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oh, too dark. Nope! Turns out they were just right.

Pot full o’stuff. More than enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches!

I feel like this was missing something green, but my kale was buggy. Eek! A good dousing of hot sauce kicked it up a little.

In the end, I feel like I accomplished a few things: I spent very little, I used up some neglected pantry items, and I fed my family the way I want to without much time in the kitchen. 

Feeling like a pretty good mommy today… :D


A lot of people say that they can’t eat a healthy made-from-scratch diet because they don’t have time. What’s your response to that excuse?

The zucchini/squash onslaught has begun! What’s your best recipe?

Reminder: don’t forget to enter to win free products from Turtle Mountain! I’ll be picking a 2 winners on Saturday, 6.26…


Filed under Home & Garden, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Quesadilla Casserole

As promised, Quesadilla Casserole! Because woman cannot live on oats alone…

I had a coupon for McCormick’s new Recipe Inspirations, so I picked up the one that included the spices and recipe card for Quesadilla Casserole. I chose that one because I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand at the time, and I’m SO glad I did!

Have you seen these? 

They come with one recipe card and all of the individual spices needed to complete the recipe. 

I’ll admit, at first I thought this was just a clever way to jack up the price of simple spices. But once I thought about it, it’s a great idea for people who don’t have full spice racks and those who won’t use a whole container of a given spice. This way, the spices are always fresh and if you really like the recipe enough to make it again, you can go buy the full sizes.

I found these at 2/$3, and I had 2 $1 coupons. I also found a tearpad at the store that gave me another $1 off fresh meat with the purchase of 2 McCormick spices, so I basically got 2 spice cards for the grand total of: FREE!

Love FREE!

You can find the original recipe here, but I can never resist changing things up, ABCGP-style, and trying to up the health factor as much as possible.

Here are the tweaks I made:

–The original McCormick recipe called for beef, so I substituted extra lean ground turkey.

–I swapped out the white flour tortillas for a 100% whole wheat variety (white tortillas = gut glue!) 

–I used organic tomato sauce, organic beans, organic corn and organic onion. I also amped up the veggie content by adding in some pureed organic carrots.

–I cut the cheese (Ha ha!) No really, I cut the amount of cheese called for by a lot.  (I’m having a major anti-dairy moment in my life right now.) My husband just added extra cheese to his individual serving and all was well.

–Finally, I used frozen veggies instead of canned, lowering the sodium content. I have hypertension, so this is a big one for me. Any time you can use fresh or frozen veggies instead of canned, you’re lowering sodium in your recipe (also a good idea because of the BPA found in many canned goods.)

This recipe basically has 5 easy steps.

1. The browning: turkey and onion.

2 The dumping: this is the good stuff (tomato sauce, black beans, corn, chiles, carrot)

3. More dumping: the spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper)

4. The layering: Layer filling, tortillas, cheese, filling, tortillas, cheese, …you get the idea.

5. The baking: Bake at 350º long enough to heat through and melt the cheese, about 15 minutes.

I was a little short on tomato sauce, and the edges were a bit crisp (you can see it in the photo), but I quite liked them that way. In recipes like this, the tortillas tend to get really soggy, and these weren’t at all.

And there you have it! It’s as simple as that. You end up with a really affordable, flavorful meal that doesn’t have any “shady” artificial ingredients. Lots of fiber, lots of protein, lots of veggies, and very little fat or sodium: You can’t find that in many Mexican restaurants! And, you can personalize it to fit your tastes and dietary preferences, just like I did. A great option for those nights when leafy greens just don’t seem substantial enough (this one is a sure husband-pleaser.) 

I’m thrilled to have a new recipe to add to my Favorites Collection.

A buck well spent! (…if I’d actually paid anything for it, that is.) Next up, the Garlic Lime Fajitas!


Have you tried McCormick Recipe Inspirations? Did you find them as “inspirational” as I did?

What are some of your favorite recipe substitutions?


Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food