Roasted Veggie Quesadillas (Vegetarian and gluten free)

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So there’s this beast I wrestle with.

Every. Stinkin’. Week.

It goes by the unimaginative name of grocery budget.

Don’t get me wrong. Superman is a great provider, and God has been incredibly generous with us. All you have to do is look at my Friday post to see that we have food in abundance!

But geeze Louise! Diapers and real food gets expensive!

What’s a foodie girl to do?

More to the point, what’s a foodie girl with a carnivorous husband to do?

‘Cause let’s get down to brass tacks…meat is especially expensive. And that tofu recipe was a once-in-a-marriage experience that ended with Cheerios for dinner instead.

So, when my fellow foodie friend Carla mentioned a delicious vegetarian recipe, my ears perked up with cautious excitement. Now, the original recipe was for grilled vegetable quesadillas with goat cheese, so modifications were in order.

Firstly, we don’t have a grill. So, roasted veggies it is.

Secondly, for what I am about to say, I apologize in advance. In case you’re one of those nutcases interesting people that enjoy the flavors of goat cheese.

I loathe the stuff. So nix that, please and thank you.

That leaves us with anything-but-plain Roasted Veggie Quesadillas…so let’s get cookin’!

Start with the veggies. Grab a zucchini and a summer squash and dice ’em up.

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Show no mercy to half a red onion. Toss your slaughtered vegetables in a bowl with some sliced mushrooms, and get generous with the oil and kosher salt.

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Spread them evenly on a cookie sheet, and roast them at 425° F for 15-20 minutes.

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Next, pull out your griddle and get that baby hot!

Now, here’s where you can go gluten free by using corn tortillas…or if you’re like me, you can use  regular tortillas. Whatevs.

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Begin your delicious little assembly line with this winning lineup:

Tortilla.

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Pesto shmear. By all means, don’t be shy with the pesto. Mmmmm…

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Cheese.

Roasted veggies.

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Tortilla.

The end.

Now cook ’em till they’re toasty, flip ’em with love, and when they’re all melty and delicious…slice and serve!

P.S. Sneaky hint: I like to sweeten this meal up with taco chips and fresh salsa…because, who doesn’t love that? And it kind of distracts from the whole there’s no meat in this issue. 🙂

Balsamic Roasted Chicken (Slow Cooker Paleo Style)

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Is anyone else letting out a happy sigh that it’s slow cooker season again? And pumpkin everything season. And casserole, soup, and chili season.

And jacket season.

I might as well confess that I bought an awesome leather jacket, and I’m excited to wear it. It’s sort of my rebellion against turning into a stodgy, spit up covered, sweatpants and messy hair mom. (Not that I don’t have those moments…er…days. But still, a girl’s gotta have some hope, right?)

Anyway, confession aside, how about tossing some chicken in the crockpot and forgetting about it till dinner? Count me in!

Pull out your crockpot, and brush off the cobwebs that have accumulated over the summer.

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Spray the ever loving goodness out of the insert, and drop in those chicken pieces. Here I used boneless, skinless thighs, but I actually prefer bone in for slow cooker use. Whatevs.

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Now, grab about a teaspoon each of rosemary and thyme, and half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and sprinkle it over those sleeping beauties.

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Toss on some chopped onion (1/4 cup or so) and 3 or 4 peeled garlic cloves.

NOTE: I used to hate peeling garlic until I discovered the “chef” way. Now it’s just fun!

Put your clove on the counter, or cutting board. Put the flat of your knife blade on top…

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… and SMACK down with your open hand. Voila! The skin comes right off!

See? I told you it was fun.

Anyways. Drizzle on about 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, and add 1/2 cup of water.

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Cook on low for 4-5 hours or hi 2-3 hours (and always make sure you check your chicken’s internal temperature…it should be at least 165° F).

Now that dinner’ s in the crockpot, there’s time to enjoy a walk (maybe even with a leather jacket and a pumpkin latte).

Savory Summer-lovin’ Supper

The main players all lined up...

The main players all lined up…

The dog days of summer are upon us. And I mean tongue lolling out, give-me-a-popsicle-before-I-die kind of heat. (On a side note, Mango Italian Ice is lifesavingly refreshing AND lower calorie than, say, butter crunch ice cream. Which is good, considering that I have a 4 month old and a few extra pounds…but I digress.)

By the time 5 o’clock rolls around at this joint, my grey matter is fried. If I don’t have a plan in place for dinner (read: written down and posted on the fridge), we just might resort to the good old standby of scrambled eggs and toast. Which is where easy and fool proof come into play. Let’s not forget kid-friendly and cost-sensitive. Ready to toss on your chef hat? Let’s get cooking!

Grab your favorite skillet or frying pan, and put it on your burner at medium. Then go to your fridge and grab the butter and some boneless, skinless chicken. While you’re at it, pull out your meat tenderizer and toss 2 tablespoons of butter into that pan.

Don't be shy about the butter...

Don’t be shy about the butter…

Toss the chicken pieces on a cutting board (one you use only for poultry is recommended), and season away. I like Montreal Steak Seasoning, or garlic salt, pepper, and paprika, but whatever floats your boat.

Spicy goodness!

Spicy goodness!

Now for the fun part. Grab your cooking mallet or one of these handy gadgets,

and take out any latent aggression…I won’t tell. (Cue pounding.)

Pound away, baby!

Pound away, baby!

Now add your chicken to the hot skillet with all that melty, wonderful butter.

You have some time. Slice some French bread, set out some watermelon, and drop some corn in a pot of hot water.

The corn is cooking...dinner will be delicious!

The corn is cooking…dinner will be delicious!

After you’ve done all that (or about 5 minutes has gone by), you can turn your oh-so-delicious chicken over to finish cooking.

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Set the table, wash the toddler’s grimy hands, and referee a squabble or two. Check the chicken with an instant read thermometer and make sure it’s 165° or above. To be safe, I usually go for 170°. Depending on your stove and the thickness of your chicken, you may need to put a lid on for a few minutes of cooking time to bring it to the proper temperature. After removing the chicken from the heat, it’s a good idea to let it “rest” for 5 minutes without poking or prodding. All this does is keep the meat nice and juicy. Besides, it takes that long to round up everyone to the dinner table anyway, right? Now give thanks and dig in!