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oven tacos

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 small can diced green chilies
1 recipe for taco seasoning
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheese
18-20 hard taco shellsOptional Condiments-
Lettuce (shredded)
Tomato (diced)
Sour Cream
Olives, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan, add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes if mixture seems runny.

Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (OR check out The Taco Rack), standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through.

Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving.
Recipe from

ranch cheddar chicken

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
crumbled bacon
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place the chicken in a large baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ranch, and cheddar cheese. Spread on top of the chicken breasts.
Sprinkle the panko on top and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Recipe courtesy of

oven baked fajitas

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.
Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

virginia peanut soup

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped, plus 1/4 cup celery leaves, for garnish
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 bay leaf
6 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (store-bought or homemade; see related recipe), plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/4 cup diced, unpeeled apple, for garnish (optional)

To make the soup, place the peanuts in a bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches, and soak at room temperature for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Drain.

Pour the oil into a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the drained peanuts, celery seed and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until the peanuts are heated through and coated in oil, 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat until it is barely bubbling around the edges. Cook uncovered until the peanuts are very soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.

Working in small batches, transfer the soup to a blender, remove the center knob from the lid, cover with a dish towel to contain splatters, and blend until smooth. Add a little more broth if you’d like the soup to be thinner. Pour back into the pot and reheat over medium heat. (For a particularly smooth texture, rinse out the pot and push the soup back into the pot through a fine-mesh strainer.) Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper; taste, and add more of any or all of them as needed.

Recipe seen in the Washington Post magazine.

protein monster vegan enchiladas

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Vegan, gluten-free (with gf tortilla)

Makes 6-8 enchiladas

1 onion
1 red bell pepper
15 oz. can black beans
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3 roma tomatoes (can substitute a can of diced tomatoes, drained)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt to taste
6 large tortillas
Optional: spinach, chipotle, garlic

{For the enchilada sauce}
3 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
Optional: cayenne pepper, ground chipotle, smoked paprika, etc.

Dice onion and bell pepper.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and bell pepper for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and rinse beans.
When onions are tender, reduce heat and add cumin, paprika, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, hemp hearts, garbanzo and black beans. Stir well. Heat for 2-3 minutes then set aside.
Prepare the enchilada sauce. (*Directions below if needed.)
Preheat oven to 350.
In a lightly sprayed 9×13 baking dish, cover the bottom with a layer of enchilada sauce.
Distribute bean mixture in the center of tortillas. Roll up, tucking in both ends.
Place in baking dish and top with remaining sauce.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
Can serve topped with avocado, cilantro, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, etc.

*Directions for enchilada sauce
In a small bowl, add flour and spices.
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
When hot, carefully add tomato paste, flour, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.
Cook 1 minute, whisking continuously.
Add broth and whisk well. Increase heat and bring to a light boil.
Reduce to simmer and cook 8 minutes, whisking occasionally. Salt to taste.

Recipe courtesy of

fettuccine with silken tofu alfredo sauce

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

12 oz fettuccine
2 Tbs light margarine (I use EVO)
3 cloves garlic crushed (I just mince and do not remove later)
1 lb silken tofu
1/2 cup 1% or soy milk
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt (I use less, but you can experiment)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra Parmesan cheese (optional) for garnish

Cook noodles until al dente and drain.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the crushed
garlic cloves and sauté over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, or
until they are golden. Remove from heat and discard cloves (I do not
remove minced garlic, but keep it in for added flavor).

Combine the next 4 ingredients in a food processor and pour in the
melted margarine (or EVO) from the skillet. Process until completely
smooth and creamy.

Combine the hot, drained noodles and the sauce in a large serving
bowl and toss together. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper
and toss again. Serve at once with extra Parmesan as optional

*** Timing is key with this recipe. I make sure the sauce is
completely done when I am ready to drain the noodles, as their heat
warms the dish. If you wait until the noodles have cooled too much,
the whole dish will be cool.

cafe rio creamy tomatillo dressing

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
1 packet regular Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalepeno (if you like it spicy leave the seeds in, other wise remove the seeds)

Mix all ingredients together in the blender until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use, will thicken as it gets colder.  Enjoy!
Recipe from

cornbread dressing

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

1/2 cup butter
3 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage
Cornbread Crumbles
3 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add celery and onions, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in sage, and sauté 1 minute.

Stir together Cornbread Crumbles and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, next 2 ingredients, and celery mixture, stirring until blended. Divide cornbread mixture between 1 lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish and 1 lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.

3. Bake at 400° for 45 to 55 minutes or until set and golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living magazine.

creamed spinach

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

3 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and heat for about 1 minute. Whisk in half-and-half.

2. Squeeze water out of the thawed spinach and add the spinach to the saucepan. Add salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and simmer for 20 minutes on medium/low heat. Spinach will be tender when done.

Serves 4.

Source: “Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3″ by Todd Wilbur.

lemon poppyseed muffins

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins By Chloe Coscarelli
Makes 14 muffins
Make-Ahead Tip:
Muffins can be made in advance and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw and apply icing before serving.

Muffin Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour*
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
*For a gluten-free alternative, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Icing Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
To make the muffins: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, oil, lemon juice, zest, and lemon extract. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in poppy seeds. Do not over mix.
Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool the muffins completely before icing.
To make the icing: Whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, water, and zest in a small bowl until smooth.
Spread a thin layer of icing over each muffin.

Recipe courtesy of Kimberly. As found here.

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