black bean quesadillas

This is my first summer in New York, and it’s packed to the humid skies with locals and tourists. I miss summers in Calgary, where the sidewalks are lonely and the humidity is low. Summer is not the season for cooking in the kitchen, and I have discovered that Eating Well has a number of Quick and Easy recipes online. Black Bean Quesadillas, I love you! I adapted the recipe by increasing the cheese and the salsa. I left out the oil and just used my grill pan to toast the tortillas. It really doesn’t need oil to cook. Whole wheat tortillas have a nutty toasty flavor anyway!

Black Bean Quesadillas

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Ingredients
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, preferably pepper Jack
1 cup prepared fresh salsa, divided (I bought mild salsa from Trader Joe’s)
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas (I used rectangular whole wheat roll-ups)
1 ripe avocado, diced, optional

Preparation
1. Combine beans, cheese and 1/4 – 1/2 cup salsa in a medium bowl. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2 cup filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat. Serve the quesadillas with avocado, if desired, and the remaining salsa.

white beans with potatoes, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes

Now this wasn’t hard to make; it just took longer.  Although it isn’t in the Quick and Easy category, it is perfect for a Sunday dinner when I have more time to cook. This recipe was originally called  White Beans and Lemon Potatoes with Olives and Tomatoes in Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap. It can either be a vegetable side or a main meal with a salad and another vegetable. I recommend roasted asparagus. This recipe doesn’t really need a lot of salt because of the tanginess of the lemon/lime juice and the olives, white beans, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Make 4 servings

White Beans with Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients
2 pounds small white or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1×15.5 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
6-8 oven dried tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch strips (I used sun-dried tomatoes in oil)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
juice of 1 lemon or 1/2 lime

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan. Add the potatoes and garlic, drizzle with a little oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until tender, about 40-45 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add the beans, tomatoes, parsley, olives, and lemon or lime juice. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine, then return to the oven to heat through, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Variations

  • Add sautéed spinach or other cooked vegetable to make a one-dish meal.
  • Substitute ripe black olives for the kalamata olives.
  • Add capers and/or chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.

cornmeal crusted chicken nuggets with blueberry-mustard dipping sauce

I adapted this recipe from Eating Well. The original recipe called for blackberries or raspberries, but I only had blueberries. It is quick and easy to make, especially on those days when I’m tempted to eat some fast food. This is much healthier. After all, it is made with chicken breasts, not something pretending to be chicken. Read Fast Food Nation or The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I guarantee you will never look at your food the same way again!

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Blueberry Mustard Dipping Sauce 

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3-1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Mash the blueberries and sieve the pulp. Discard the skins. Add mustard and honey. Mix well and set aside. Cook’s note: If using blackberries or raspberries, there is no need to discard the skin.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken cubes. Put cubes into a plastic bag. Add oil and shake. Add the cornmeal and shake the bag until the chicken is evenly coated. Add cornmeal and shake the bag. Add more cornmeal a tablespoon at a time if needed.
  3. Spray cooking spray in a large skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and put the chicken in a single layer in the pan. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook until browned on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about 4-5 minutes. Thinner nuggets will cook faster than thicker ones. Nuggets are cooked when they are firm to the touch when poked. Serve the chicken nuggets with the berry mustard.