I have to be honest with you, Internet. Right now I am angrily biting the nail polish off my nails. I have extremely breakable nails, so I try to keep clear nail polish on them; you know, the super thick stuff. This stuff is also great fun to peel off when irritable. Come on, you know you’ve done it before… please?
I had big plans to bake something to bring to work tomorrow for some upcoming and recently passed birthdays, and I needed it to be flourless. But at this point I’m feeling like God made flour for a reason, and we just shouldn’t fight it.
I know, I can’t even believe it myself, but I tried those cursed black bean brownies again. No changes or alterations, just completely by the book. I was low on agave syrup, so I used half agave and half honey. They came out tasting so strongly of honey that it’s practically oozing from them. Don’t worry, my curiosity about these things has been sated. I’m burning the recipe – never again!
Next I tried a flourless chocolate cake. The recipe stressed to gently fold in the beaten egg whites to the melted chocolate. Maybe I was too careful, because now it just seems completely bland.
Ghost failures twice in one night!!!
I don’t even want to think about baking anymore right now. Let’s talk about dinner, okay? Dinner, unlike tonight’s stupid desserts (grrr!), turned out quite well.
A few years ago I tore a recipe out of a magazine for some kind of tortilla pie. The tortillas were stacked high and stuffed with cheese and black beans; it looked great. Unfortunately, I lost this recipe before ever getting to try it. So instead I tried to create something similar but with less cheese and more beans.
Seven tortilla layers total – I alternated layers of black beans and refried. I also included shredded chicken, diced red pepper, garlic, a combination of diced tomatoes and salsa, and the tiniest bit of cheese on each layer. I just included spice on the top layer, but feel free to mix the spice throughout. I also cooked mine in a springform pan to avoid any potential toppling problems, but I think that you could get away with using a pie plate or cake pan as well. My husband really loved this and kept making trips back to the kitchen for leftovers. Enjoy!
Seven Layer Tortilla Pie
1/2 pound chicken breast, baked and shredded
1 can black beans, drained and mashed
1 can fat free refried beans
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated fresh
3 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup salsa
1 red pepper, diced
7 flour tortillas
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 375F. Measure and prep ingredients and bake chicken (if looking for a way to bake the chicken, you can use my style found here. Because it’s only one half pound you will not need to bake it as long. Be sure to cut into the middle of the thickest piece to make sure it’s fully cooked. Shred with a fork). Combine diced tomatoes and salsa in the same bowl.
Lay one flour tortilla in the bottom of a springform pan (or pie dish or cake pan with high sides). Spread a thin layer of the mashed black beans over the tortilla. Follow with shredded chicken, garlic, red pepper, salsa mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Be a little careful near the edges so that your filling doesn’t spill out. Lay another tortilla over this and push down gently to level it. This time spread refried beans over the tortilla, then include other ingredients as before. This recipe makes just enough, so don’t make your “filling” too thick or you will run out. I was especially stingy with the cheese.
Continue to alternate layers. On very top layer, sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly along with 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and cayenne for some heat. Be sure to take the salsa mixture to the edges of the top tortilla so that the top does not dry out and become too crispy while baking.
Bake for 25 minutes. Serve in wedges.
Happy photography day, loyal readers. Today’s photograph is one of my favorite vegetarian (and vegan) recipes: FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s pinto bean chili. I LOVE this dish. It’s nutritious, filling, low in calories and extremely delicious. I highly recommend it.
If you’re planning a wedding, have recently gotten married or just love weddings in general, then you’ve probably heard of a website called The Knot. The Knot is a spectacular place to find local vendors, get ideas for flowers, dresses, cakes and color combinations and to help out with planning and etiquette questions.
I recently went to The Knot for the first time since my wedding in July 2008 to look up a friend’s wedding website. I was surprised to discover that when you log in after your wedding has passed, you’re redirected to a site called The Nest. The Nest features advice for married people – money tips, decorating your home and saving, love, beauty, babies and dinner recipes.
Of course I clicked first on the dinner recipe tab. It was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Many of the recipes on the site are designed to be relatively easy and healthy, and they’re geared towards serving two people.
One of the recipes that caught my eye was, well, one of the less healthy ones, something called “Herb Oven-Fried Chicken.” What sparked my interest was that instead of using plain breadcrumbs or “Shake ‘n Bake” to lightly coat the chicken, this recipe called for oats! Let me make sure it’s clear – I love oats!
By pulsing the oats in a food processor, you get a fine powder that adds an interesting and wholesome taste to your chicken breasts. I added a lot more flavor to the coating by including more spices in the oat mixture. I also baked it in the oven (and removed a lot of the oil) instead of cooking it in a toaster oven. I don’t have a toaster oven, but even if I did trying to cook raw chicken in it sounds like an odd idea to me (even though apparently The Nest pulled this recipe from a book solely dedicated to cooking with a toaster oven, my question is “Why?” I understand not having a stand mixer or food processor, but why would you need a substitute for a conventional oven?).
My husband and I enjoyed this chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and mashed rutabaga and baked beans. It doesn’t taste like a typical breaded chicken; if you don’t like oats then you probably won’t like this. But I highly recommend this spicy and unique take on chicken breasts!
Oat & Herb Chicken
adapted from The Nest (who excerpted it from Lynn Alley’s The Gourmet Toaster Oven: Simple And Sophisticated Meals for the Busy Cook)
1/2 cup milk*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup rolled oats (you can use Quaker Quick or Old-Fashioned, but not Instant)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, rosemary, Italian seasoning, black pepper, celery seed and paprika
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon paprika
My 1 lb of chicken breast contained 3 medium chicken breasts. Cut chicken breasts in half longways. In a small bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and oil. I refrigerated this marinade for about 5 hours, but do it for however long you can.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425F. Combine oats, red pepper flakes, the remaining teaspoon of salt, parmesan, basil, rosemary, Italian seasoning, black pepper, celery seed and paprika in your food processor. Pulse until the oats are mostly powdered. Spread oat mixture out on a plate. Shake the excess buttermilk off the chicken gently and lay both sides of the chicken in the mixture to thoroughly coat.
Place chicken in a shallow baking dish (I actually used a ceramic pie dish). Bake for about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of your meat. The crust should be a little crispy. Be sure to test for doneness by cutting into the thickest piece and ensuring that it’s bone white in the center. Remove chicken and serve with vegetable of your choice.
*Note about Milk – The original recipe called for buttermilk, but I used skim milk because that’s what I had on hand and it worked out fine. Buttermilk will give you more of an authentic fried chicken type taste, and next time I make this I’ll probably try out buttermilk. For my calorie-counting friends, give buttermilk a chance! Wikipedia says, “Buttermilk is lower in fat and calories than regular milk because the fat from buttermilk has already been removed to make butter. It is high in potassium, vitamin B12 and calcium.” Yum.