LT 1

Vegetarian Tacos

These are actually delicious. Shocking, I know. Especially since they are made from….lentils. But don’t tell anybody.

Last year I decided that I wanted to make more vegetarian meals for our family, so I asked some of my friends for their favorite vegetarian recipes. This one can be found at allrecipes and was passed on by a friend from high school who said that she was vegetarian for seven years and this was one of her favorites.

So I thought we could try it. And I actually like this BETTER than normal taco meat. Crazy, right? It has the same flavor, but the texture is, in my opinion, MUCH better.

In case you have never cooked with lentils before and are wondering what to look for, here is a picture for you:

You can find them with the dried beans, which is normally by the rice.

Ingredients:

1 c. finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. canola oil

1 c. dried lentils, rinsed

1 T. chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. oregano

2-1/2 c. chicken broth (or dissolve 3 chicken buillion cubes into 3 c. water, and use 2-1/2 c. of it)

1 c. salsa

12 taco shells or tortillas

Step 1: In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender.

Step 2: Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Step 3: Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Uncover and cook for 6-8 additional minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly.

Step 4: Add salsa. Serve up and enjoy!

MB 8

Hawaiian Meatballs – Aloha! :)

My friend Jaime brought these meatballs as an appetizer at a party, and they were so good. We have used these as a meal too (as pictured here), but I think they are even better as an appetizer.

Ingredients

30 Homestyle meatballs (find in the frozen section of your store)

1 13-1/2 oz. can pineapple chunks – we usually use the 20 oz. can because I love the extra pineapple

2 T. cornstarch

1/2 c. vinegar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. lemon juice

1 c. coarsely chopped green peppers

1 T. chopped pimentos (optional)

Step 1: Drain the juice from the pineapple chunks into a measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1 c. liquid.

Step 2: Blend together the pineapple liquid and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and lemon juice.

Step 3: Cook on medium high until thickened and clear. As this gets thicker, you’ll want to make sure you keep stirring it, and you may want to turn your heat down as well.

Step 4: Add pineapple chunks, green peppers and pimentos (if desired). Simmer for 15 min.

Step 5: Add meatballs and simmer an additional 15-20 min.

Ser

Serve over rice (or alone as an appetizer) – and ENJOY! :)

Thanks Jaime – all of these years later we are still enjoying it. :)

TS 6

EASY Taco Soup

I know it is getting a liiiiiiitle bit out of “soup season”, but this one also has some good summer flavor in it. Plus also, it is SUPER easy. As in open and dump cans easy. My mom passed this recipe along last year, and we have been very happy to have it because you can keep the ingredients on hand and throw it together at the last minute. We likey.

Ingredients:

1 15 oz. can corn

1 15 oz. can kidney beans

1 15 oz. can pinto beans

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas)

1 30 oz. can tomato sauce (29 oz. is what I can find usually)

1 pkg. taco seasoning

1 lb. ground beef, cooked

shredded cheese & tortilla chips (or broiled tortillas) to top

Step 1: Brown your ground beef if it isn’t already browned. I usually buy in bulk, cook it all at once, and put it into baggies by the pound and freeze it to make life easier later.

Step 2: Open your cans and dump everything into a large pot (including the juice from the cans). Add the taco seasoning and beef. Stir well.

Step 3: Cover and cook on stove for about 1 hour. (Now that I am typing this up, I realize that we usually just bring it to a boil, and then simmer uncovered until we are ready to eat it – which could be 10 or 15 minutes. Your pick.)

Step 4 (if desired – or you can just use tortilla chips): Turn your oven to broil and move one of your oven racks to the top spot. Take about 6 or so soft tortillas and cut them into pieces. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and put your tortilla pieces on the sheet. Stick the sheet into the oven and broil until the pieces are slightly browned. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM SO THEY DON’T BURN. Take them out of the oven and flip them over, and brown the other side. We LOVE these little tortilla pieces – they add a good texture to the soup.

There you have it – easy peasy.

Thanks Mom for the recipe, and thanks Chelsea for the tortilla pieces tip! :)

C 9

Carmelitas – Yum. Yum. Yum.

These are really, really, really, truly good. Caramel and chocolate are two of my favorite things, and together they are AWESOME. And with an oatmeal cookie-like top and bottom – who can beat that? I mean, really.

I found this one from Lulu the Baker. You actually should read this post from her too – it’s pretty funny. She is a bit obsessed with them, which – when you have tried them – is totally understandable. :)

Ingredients: (this is for an 8×8 recipe – for a 9×13 recipe, just double it)

32 caramel squares, unwrapped (many hands makes light work – bribe your roommates, spouse or children to help)

1/2 c. heavy cream

3/4 c. butter, melted

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 c. flour

1 c. rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

6 oz. (1/2 bag) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine caramels and cream and melt over low heat. You’ll want to keep an eye on this and stir until the caramels melt and it is completely smooth. This takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R, so start on Step 2 while you are doing this.

Step 2: In a large bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and baking soda. Pat half of this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan (whatever it takes to cover the bottom with no gaps). Bake for 10 min. Snack on some of the remaining oatmeal cookie dough while you have nothing else to do (yuuuuuummmmmmm – egg free is the way to be).

Step 3: Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Pour your caramel mixture over the chocolate chips (after the mixture is all melted and smooth).

Step 4: Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel and return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.


These are good enough that even the edge pieces, which are not usually my favorite, are SOOO good because of the cooked caramel.

Enjoy!! :)

PPP 2

Pasta Tuna Salad – “Pasta Puna Pasta”

This is a big favorite in our family that I found from my friend Michelle @ Made By Michelle. It is perfect for the warmer weather that we have been having here, and is great for summer. Our kids love it enough that they have renamed it to “Pasta Puna Pasta”, and they do a little happy dance when they find out we are having it for dinner.

And yes, that is dill that you see there. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum.

 

Ingredients

1-1/2 c. pasta (shell, farfalle, whatever)

1 pkg. frozen peas, thawed (10 oz.)

1-1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/4 c. onion, finely diced

2/3 c. mayo

2 T. lemon juice

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dill weed

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 can tuna (or we will use 2 cans for dinner)

 

Cook pasta; drain well and set aside to cool (or run cold water over it to cool it down faster). Combine pasta, peas, carrots, onion and tuna in a large bowl and mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together (mayo, lemon juice, sugar, dill weed, salt, pepper) and mix well. Pour mayo mixture over pasta mixture and toss lightly to combine.

That is it! It is very easy, and INCREDIBLY yummy. I will probably consider doubling the recipe the next time we make it because we go through it so quickly and wish there was more.

Thanks Michelle! And don’t forget to check out her blog – she is very talented, and makes a lot of cool stuff to sell. You can see her ad on the sidebar as well to get an idea of what she can do, or just go check her site out.

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