Category Archives: Recipe

Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas with Cilantro Garlic Oil

It should come as no surprise when I say that Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines. I mean, what’s not to love – chips, salsa, guac, cheese, rice, beans…enough said! I am ALWAYS down for some good Mexican food.

I think one of the other reasons I love it so much is because the dishes are easier to replicate at home. There is an inherent simplicity that is great for the home cook. It’s so easy to swap out ingredients, adjust spices, etc. without totally ruining the dish. Please note that this does not mean that I make authentic Mexican. I make my own version of some of my favorite dishes.

Let’s take the mushroom and onion quesadillas I made the other night. Talk about easy and delicious! The mushrooms added a nice meatiness, while the spices came together to create an almost smoky flavor. And the cheese…the sharp cheddar cheese, while not authentic queso, took it all to another level!

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Also, let’s talk about the cilantro garlic oil I made. For the past 30 years, I have been a cilantro hater. Aside from chutneys and a few other Indian dishes, I could not stand the stuff. I am still not a cilantro lover, but let’s just say that I am slowly coming around to seeing its potential…like in the oil I made last night. But for now, the cilantro paste that Vishnu uses as a sandwich spread has been working fine in my food. I’m not quite ready to graduate to the real stuff.

Anyways, make these quesadillas ASAP. It’s the perfect weeknight meal that comes together in a short period of time. And be sure to make the oil as well. It infuses a lot of flavor into the dish and is honestly finger licking good!

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Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas
Makes 4 quesadillas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped baby Portobello mushrooms
½ large onion, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
½ cup cooked quinoa/rice (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)
4 10 inch tortillas

1. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add oil.
2. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender and just starting to get soft.
3. OPTIONAL STEP – add the quinoa/rice and stir everything together until combined for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add spices (cumin through black pepper) and mix well.
5. Set mixture aside.
6. Heat a separate pan to medium heat.
7. Once the pan is warm, place one tortilla on the pan.
8. When you start to see a few air pockets forming, sprinkle ½ cup of cheese on the entire tortilla.
9. Once the cheese is starting to melt, add ½ cup of the mushroom mixture to one half of the tortilla.
10. Fold the tortilla in half and cook on both sides until light brown and crispy.
11. Repeat for the other 3 tortillas and ENJOY!

Cilantro Garlic Oil

1 ½ teaspoons cilantro paste
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
pinch of salt
Mix everything together in a small bowl, spoon over quesadillas, and enjoy!

Note: We also enjoyed our quesadillas with a bit of salsa because in our house you can’t have Mexican food without salsa. That’s the rule!

What’s your favorite Mexican dish? Any fun recipes to share (links are most welcome)?

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal muffins are by far the #1 thing Vishnu asks that I make on a regular basis. We can’t get enough! Sometimes we eat them for breakfast, sometimes they serve as a snack, and on nights where nothing else sounds good, they are dinner. And if you aren’t convinced, my sister, my parents, and many of our friends love them as well!

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As far as taste and texture are concerned, they don’t taste like oatmeal – they’re doughy with slightly crispy edges (if that makes any sense). The maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness and richness, the melted dark chocolate chips are just perfection, and the walnuts add a nice crunch.

I can’t claim credit for these delicious bites. I first learned about baked oatmeal on Katie’s blog, but because I didn’t have an oven safe bowl to make one big portion, I split the batter among individual muffin cups. Works like a charm!

I highly suggest you follow in my footsteps and make these on a Sunday, double the recipe, and enjoy throughout the week. One pan is NEVER enough for the two of us…NEVER!

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Adapted from this recipe.

¾ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons maple syrup
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
3 pinches sea salt
3 spoonfuls peanut butter (i.e. 3 heaping tablespoons)
¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 ½ cup oats
Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.
3. Add peanut butter one spoonful at a time whisking as you go.
4. Add walnuts and oats and fold until everything is evenly incorporated.
5. Divide mixture evenly between a greased 12 cup muffin pan (~1/8 cup per muffin).
6. Add 4 dark chocolate chips to each muffin (I know this is super specific but trust me it’s the perfect amount).
7. With a small spoon, fold chocolate chips into each muffin cup.
8. Bake for 25 minutes until muffins are golden brown.
9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

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Vishnu loves these cold (like straight out of the refrigerator), and I love them warm (my favorite is straight out of the oven). Regardless how you eat them, I can 100% guarantee that even the pickiest eater will enjoy these muffins.

Let me know if you try them out!

What is the one thing you find yourself making week in and week out?

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese with Sautéed Mushrooms

Cheese + pasta. One of life’s ultimate combinations. You may not think so right now but adding butternut squash to the mix takes mac n’ cheese to a whole new level. This is one of those don’t knock it until you try it moments. Trust me!

Now, when it comes to my homemade mac n’ cheese recipe, I have always opted for sharp cheddar cheese. But this time I went in a different direction by using Fontina…and nutritional yeast. Again, you have to trust me on this. The sweetness of the butternut squash pairs so well with the creaminess of the Fontina. And the nutritional yeast? Well, that was added for extra nutty flavor.

I researched and looked at 10 different recipes (this one being the main catalyst) before deciding to put my own creative spin on the dish. Both Vishnu and I really love my original recipe, so I definitely wanted to keep elements of that in whatever it was that I made.

With that being said, I present to you my version of creamy butternut squash mac n’ cheese with sautéed mushrooms. Put another way, a delicious way to incorporate pasta, cheese, and veggies into one complete meal. You’re very welcome!

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Creamy Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese with Sautéed Mushrooms
Serves 6-8

16 ounces uncooked pasta
7 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese
10 ounces sliced portabella mushrooms
salt + pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and butternut squash.  Mix well and then add water.  Cover pan and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occassionally.  You know the squash is ready when it can be mashed easily with a fork.

Transfer squash mixture to a high speed blender or food processor and puree.  Add the pureed squash and almond milk to pan (over low heat), mixing until incorporated.  Add mustard, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast.  Add the cheese and stir until combined.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Heat a separate pan over medium-low heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Add mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes (until mushrooms are tender).

To bring everything together, mix sauce with pasta and then add mushrooms.  Gently combine all three elements.  Plate and serve!

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Vishnu and I love our mac n’ cheese extra creamy.  If you’re like us, this is for you.  Every single piece of pasta was covered in sauce.  Basically, it was mmm mmm mmm!

And on a completely different note, I AM SO EXCITED because I AM FLYING HOME (to Atlanta) tonight for a family wedding.  Always a good time!  And the best part is that Vishnu will be joining me on Friday.  Woot woot!  Can’t wait to see my parents, sister, and extended fam!

What’s your favorite type of cheese?  Goat Gouda is my current favorite, but let’s be honest, I’m an equal opportunity person when it comes to cheese.  :)