Szechuan Green Beans

This is a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry! I’ve been making it for years and it’s a family favorite that I know you’ll enjoy.

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

So, I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve been making this recipe for over five years now. I had to check my source to verify this, but it’s true. I’ve been making Szechuan Green Beans for dinner since my grad school days, crazy. I can’t tell you the number of times this has been on the menu plan for dinner at our house. I am not a recipe repeater–you know this by now!–unless said recipe is goooood. So you know this one has to be! It is a fabulous weeknight dinner… even though the list of ingredients is long, it comes together in 30 minutes or less. Score!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

For this recipe, unlike some stir fries that are really complicated, what you see is what you get. Green beans–check. Ground meat–check. Green onions–check. And some sauce for flavor–check. I typically make this stir fry with ground turkey, but you can also use pork and frankly, chick or beef would be fine too. But I like a lighter, leaner ground meat with this recipe because, to me, stir fries are supposed to be light. But who knows how real that is and how much that’s just me. Haha. A lighter meat goes well with the slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce. When I say slightly spicy, I really mean just enough spice that there’s some flavor, but this is definitely a kid friendly dish so no worries there. Ben and I have found that the recipe, as written below, serves two of us for dinner well. Sometimes there’s an extra serving left for lunch the next day, but more often then not, there isn’t. Also, this stir fry is light on the meat so feel free to increase that as needed for your family. Enjoy!

Szechuan Green Beans - a fantastic, flavorful weeknight stir fry via thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow
two years ago: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas
three years ago: Creamy Shells and Yogurt
four years ago: Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
five years ago: Watermelon Coolers
six years ago: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

Szechuan Green Beans

  • Servings: 2-3 but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

for the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoing wine, dry sherry, or mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar [omit if using mirin since that’s already sweet]
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

for the stir fry

  • 2 -3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 pound ground turkey or pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • hot cooked rice, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Then, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, tossing to coat in the oil. Cook them for 7-9 minutes, stirring often, until they are dark and shriveled in places. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl, covering to keep warm.

If using lean turkey, add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet. If using pork or a fattier cut of turkey, add directly to hot skillet. Break apart the meat, stirring continually for 2-3 minutes until cooked completely. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Re-whisk the sauce for a minute, then pour over the meat. Stir together and cook for another minute or so to thicken sauce. Remove pan from heat and add in green onions, sesame oil, and green beans. Toss together, then serve over hot cooked rice. Enjoy!

Note:

You can increase the amount of meat if desired, but for more meat, you will need more sauce. When I make this with 1/2 pound meat I double the sauce, but play around with the amounts to suit your preferences.

Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans + Kale

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You’ll be sure to love them–a great family meal!

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

Are you ready for a knock-your-socks off vegetarian burrito recipe? If so, you’ve come to the right place! And if not–or if vegetarian fare isn’t your thing–please stay, because I know you’ll enjoy it anyway!:) Or you can just add some shredded chicken to the burrito filling. Don’t worry, I’ll be none the wiser. Haha. Now onto the good stuff! These burritos! Mmmm… they are your classic vegetarian burrito–rich and hearty beans and rice… but with a twist! This veggie burrito adds some flavorful and fresh kale to the mix, along with an awesome blend of savory seasonings [garlic, onion, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin] for a fabulous burrito like none other. You will simply be amazed by how good this burrito filling is! Divine!:)

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

Now, I won’t lie. There are quite a few ingredients and steps below for this recipe, and it takes about an hour from start to finish. Obviously I made this pre-baby. Gah. But, it’s still totally doable for a family meal because this is the sort of meal you can make in steps and keep in the fridge [or freezer] to eat all week long. Basically, you begin by making some rice–with garlic and broth instead of water for added yumminess. Then you saute up some onion, add your seasonings and kale, and let that cook down a bit. Then you mix everything together and add cheese and tortillas… bake, and voila! Dinner is served. Yum.

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

I mention this in the recipe notes below, but what I wanna emphasize is that this makes a TON of burrito filling, so YAY! Lots of work=lots of meals. Hooray. When I made this for us, we ate burritos a few times during the week, adding the filling to tortillas as desired. Then we froze the rest for another time. America’s Test Kitchen, the author of this recipe in their amazing vegetarian cookbook [go check it out! I borrowed it from my library but I want a copy for home now.] suggests that this serves six. Well, maybe our tortillas were wayyyy smaller, but we got at least 10 burritos, if not MORE out of the recipe as written below. Your mileage may vary, but that’s how it went for us. I definitely loved this dish and so did Ben. I think I’m going to make a batch before I go back to work after Labor Day [tear] for quick weeknight dinners in my new working mama life. Hope y’all enjoy!

one year ago: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins
two years ago: Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce
three years ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars
four years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
five years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
six years ago: Summer Mexican Soup

Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans + Kale

  • Servings: 6+
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced + more for topping if desired
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bunch kale or swiss chard, stemmed and leaves chopped into thin ribbons
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • 10 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • sour cream, salsa, etc. – for serving as desired

Directions:

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine 1 1/4 cups broth, rice, half of the garlic, and some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is tender and broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cilantro and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in tomato paste, chipotle chile pepper, cumin, oregano, remaining garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir everything together for a minute, then add kale and 1/2 cup broth. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, until kale has softened.

In a bowl, combine half of the beans and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Mash with a potato masher until coarse, then fold into kale mixture along with remaining beans and lime juice. Cook, stirring continually, for a few minutes until liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in rice.

Turn oven on to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Next, assemble burritos. Warm tortillas in the microwave, then divide mixture between tortillas, adding a little cheese inside of each tortilla before rolling into burritos. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with a little more cheese. Broil until cheese melts and begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, etc. as desired.

Notes:

The prepared burrito filling also freezes well, on its own or in pre-made burritos ready for the oven. To heat later, microwave defrosted burrito filling until hot then prepare burritos with cheese and broil as directed above. Pre-made and frozen burritos can be heated from frozen in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot.

The cookbook suggests this recipe serves 6. However, we got at least 10 burritos out of this amount of filling. Our tortillas may have been smaller and/or filled less, so your mileage may vary.

 

Awesome Kale Salad

This kale salad is truly awesome. I mean, adding fried eggs and fried potatoes to kale makes it awesome, even if it sounds a little weird at first. You need to try this!

This kale salad is truly awesome. I mean, adding fried eggs and fried potatoes to kale makes it awesome, even if it sounds a little weird at first. You need to try this!

I’ve been making this kale salad pretty much non-stop since last July. Well, non-stop if you count the break from September to March. See, I found out in September that I was pregnant with Baby Volde and so I decided to nix fried eggs until the baby was born. I didn’t obsess over dietary stuff during pregnancy but uncooked eggs [not in cookie dough, mind you] kinda freak me out. But they’re delicious so I push through it for the joy, haha. And when springtime started coming and mama needed a good salad, I decided to live on the wild side and hope fried eggs didn’t make me sick. They didn’t, whew! But I’m not a doctor so if you’re pregnant or otherwise immunocompromised, proceed at your own risk. #disclosureover

Anyway, I love this salad for three reasons: 1) kale; 2) eggs; 3) potatoes. And also for two more: healthy and fried. Total opposites, I know… but kale is healthy… so are eggs and potatoes too. But they’re a little more unhealthy if you fry them… but the kale part takes away the guilt! That, and the potatoes are just pan-fried so that is mucho better than deep frying, right? Soooo, this salad is the BEST combination of healthy and fried, guilt free and delicious. Does that make sense to you? It makes sense in my head so I hope so!

This kale salad is truly awesome. I mean, adding fried eggs and fried potatoes to kale makes it awesome, even if it sounds a little weird at first. You need to try this!

You have to experience this salad to understand its greatness. At first Ben was skeptical. I mean, fried eggs on a salad? Bizarre. And, the runny egg part of the fried egg serves as the salad dressing. Another notch on the weird scale, but it works. Plus, the egg gives a little more staying power to the salad. Usually I have to have meat on a salad to make it filling, but not here. Though you could add bacon for some extra deliciousness.:) Anyway you make it, you’re sure to love it!

Oh and before I go, I have to mention my silverware. Isn’t it so cool? I received a fork and spoon handstamped from Tattooed Silver, a great small business located in Ohio. Tattooed Silver is the business of a fellow Wittenberg University alum, and I’m excited that we started a lil partnership. You can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy. Her products are all so unique and fun, and would make great gifts too.:)

Enjoy!

one year ago: Cheesy Veggie Pasta
two years ago: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes
three years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
four years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
five years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
six years ago: Potato Soup

Awesome Kale Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Inspired by the best parts of these salads from Jenna’s Everything Blog and We Are Not Martha, with my own additions too:)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard, if desired
  • 4 medium potatoes – 1 per person
  • chili powder
  • dried oregano
  • garlic powder
  • 8 eggs – 2 per person
  • optional additions: diced avocado, crumbled feta, chopped bacon, etc.

Directions:

Wash and dry kale, then cut into thin strips taking care to remove the middle stems. Place in a large bowl and massage with several glugs of olive oil and the lemon juice until kale softens, then season with salt and pepper. If desired, drizzle honey and dijon mustard on top and toss/massage that in as well.

Meanwhile, dice potatoes into bite size pieces [1 per person]. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to the pan. When hot, reduce heat to medium and add potatoes. Season with a little salt, a lot of pepper, and some chili powder, garlic powder, and oregano. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 10-12 minutes until potatoes are crispy and cooked through.

When potatoes are finished, remove to another dish and cover with foil to retain heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and fry eggs as desired [2 per person].

Serve kale in a big bowl or plate. Top with potatoes and fried eggs, along with other desired additions. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Tacos

You’ll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it’s extra delicious!:)

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

What’s better than–and easier than–regular tacos? Oven tacos! I’m totally serious! These have been a thing for a few years now, so you may have already seen them before. But if you haven’t tried them yet, you should. ASAP. They’re a great way to make tacos for a crowd and in general, they’re just a great change up from regular taco night. Plus, it’s also fun to make homemade crispy taco shells! Though it involves being extra careful when you’re working with hot oven racks, I bet kids would LOVE to watch corn tortilla shells transform into crispy shells.:) I mean… I do, so what kid wouldn’t? Haha.

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

I’ve made this recipe as written below a handful of times, but I’ve always thought about how I could switch up the filling but keep the concept the same. I haven’t ventured very far yet–just subbing black beans from refried beans, but that’s a tasty start! I think these tacos would be great with shredded chicken, carnita meat, fajita veggies, pinto beans, or any other filling your little taco-loving heart desires! No matter how you make it, this dish is a favorite. It’s hard to decide what the best part of these tacos are–the crisp homemade shells, the bubbly and melty cheese, or the flavorful beef and bean filling… but I do know that these tacos have been part of our regular taco rotation for a couple years now so I hope you try them! If you need any sides for taco night, why not try my Mexican RicePerfect Black Beans, or this yummy Guacomole Salsa? Enjoy!

You'll love these crispy, melty baked tacos! The filling is made from both beef and beans, so it's extra delicious! :)

one year ago: Turkey Sloppy Joes
two years ago: BBQ Baked Spaghetti
three years ago: Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea
four years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
five years ago: Spiced Waffles

Oven Baked Tacos

  • Servings: 8-10 tacos
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Macaroni & Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 9 corn tortillas [or for an easier twist, premade hard taco shells]
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces refried beans [from half of a 15 ounce can]
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning  [about half of a store-bought packet]
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • taco toppings – chopped lettuce, avocado, tomatoes; sour cream; cilantro; etc.

Directions:

Begin by making the crispy taco shells. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In batches, microwave tortillas in a damp dishtowel or paper towel, if you prefer, for about 20-30 seconds until tortillas are pliable. Coat on each side with cooking spray, then lay on a cutting board or plate. When all are ready, open oven and carefully pull out the top oven rack partially. Drape tortillas over rungs so they are hanging upside down and forming that hard taco shell shape. If you prefer, you can remove the rack before you preheat the oven so you can do this step with a cool oven rack and just slide it back in. I found it easier to do it this way personally though. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, until crispy, then carefully remove from the oven with tongs and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Adjust oven temperature to 400 degrees, then spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a large skillet. Remove grease, then stir in tomato sauce, refried beans, and taco seasoning. Heat on medium-low for a few minutes to heat through.

Remove pan from heat and fill each cooled taco shell with the meat mixture. Stand each filled shell up in prepared pan. Sprinkle everything with cheese, then bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Note:

To reheat and retain the crispy shell, heat leftovers at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, checking carefully so nothing burns.

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce #bookclubcookbookCC

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce… this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Once upon a time, when I was a senior in high school, I took AP English. English classes at my high school were awesome–I had the best teachers, and we got to read some wonderful novels over the years. I realize I sound like a complete goody two shoes with those two statements, and let’s face it–I probably was. For one project in AP English [which was totally worth it, btw since I tested out of the two required English courses in college due to acing the AP exam], we had to read a classic novel independently and do a book report/presentation about it to the class. The details are a bit hazy since this was circa 2002, but I remember taking the official list of our book choices to Borders [rest in peace] and walking around reading the backs of zillions of books to make THE choice. This was important stuff, guys!! And it was before my infatuation with libraries. In those days, I could spend hours in a bookstore, especially my beloved Borders next to my favorite Panera. Good times!

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Anyways, after perusing my options, I settled on Love in the Time of Cholera by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. I had two main reasons for my choice: first, it was originally published the year I was born, and two, I liked the cover. Great reasons, huh? These great reasons backfired on me–I hated the book. Not that you came to my blog to read about literary elements or theory, but one of the techniques used in this novel is magical realism–magic alongside everyday events. And if you know me, you know that I’m as realistic as they come. I don’t really like tv or movies with any fantasy elements, and that is how I saw this book. So now you know my feelings on Love in the Time of Cholera…which happens to be the May book choice for #bookclubcookbookCC, hosted by Danielle of Mostly Food and Crafts and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm. Yes, I am a little late, but I have a four week old baby so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!:)

An easy baked tilapia dish jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy green sauce... this simple meal is fresh and flavorful, perfect for summer! #bookclubcookbookCC

Love in the Time of Cholera is set in the Caribbean, possibly Colombia, but if I remember correctly, it’s a little ambiguous. And what’s more Caribbean or coastal than a good fish dish? This baked tilapia is jazzed up with a creamy, dreamy coconut-cilantro sauce! It is a snap to put together, so it’s great even for busy new parents to make. [That’s me!] All you do is combine a few tasty ingredients in the blender or food processor and whirl away. The oven does the rest of the work. Love it! This fresh sauce is the perfect blend of tropical flavors with a wee bit of spice. How delightful! I’m sure we will make it over and over again this summer. Hope you love this dish as much as we did… and if you do happen to love the novel this recipe is inspired by, well, then please accept my apologies that I did not.:) Maybe if I read it as an adult I’d have a different opinion, but alas… have a great day, friends!

one year ago: Southwestern Cilantro Mac & Cheese
two years ago: Black Bean and Rice Soup

three years ago: Blueberry Burgers
four years ago: Parmesan Garlic Rolls
five years ago: Lemony Kale Pasta

Baked Tilapia with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk [light or full fat, your choice]
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped – deseed as desired
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, then place tilapia in the pan. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, garlic, and jalapeno. Pulse until smooth. Pour sauce over fish, then bake about 15 minutes until tilapia is cooked through–it should be opaque in the center. Serve over rice.