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tortilla crisps

It’s mindblowing how many things I come up with because I’m just lazy. One night I was home, and wanted something to eat, but I didn’t want to lose my parking spot. That meant I had to come up with something based on what I already had at home… which wasn’t much since the next day was grocery day.

I’m prone to making tortilla chips when I just want a small snack, but I wanted something different this time.

And that’s how the tortilla crisp was made!

They’re easier than a quesadilla and ready in minutes. Let me know how you like them!

What You Need:
Corn tortillas
Cheese (grated)
1 TBSP Oil
Salt

What You Do:
Heat the oil and fry a tortilla on one side in a small pan or skillet. The oil shouldn’t be enough to go over the top of the tortilla, just to fry the bottom

Flip and fry the other side

While it’s frying, quickly put the cheese on (and crushed red peppers if you like). Sprinkle the salt across the tortilla.

Once the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted, you’re done!

Messiness: Not too messy. The good news is if you’re using a large skillet, you can fry two at a time, and the cheese that misses the tortilla turns into cheese crisps. You can see the little crisps in the pic.

Simplicity: EXTRA simple. Even better if you have grated cheese on hand.

Budget: CHEAP! $2 for a bag of tortillas and the bag of cheese, and you can make a ton with that.

Delicious Factor: Even with just the cheese this is yummy! It’s like a quesadilla and nachos had a baby.

Lately, I’ve been discussing recipes with a lot of friends, and I finally realized something: people my age (mid twenties), on the whole, have no idea how to cook simple, SIMPLE things. Things that our parents probably learned from just watching their parents.

However, since we’re the generation of fast food lovers, a lot of things in the kitchen seem daunting, including plain, ole roasted veggies.

This recipe wasn’t anything that was taught to me, it’s just something that I figured out one day.

As a vegetarian, I have to go to the store about twice a week to make sure the produce I’m using is fresh. There are still times though when all of my vegetables stack up on me, and I either have to eat them within the next day, or they’ll go bad.

So, one day, as I stared into my fridge, I realized I had a carton of cherry tomatoes, a zucchini and baby carrots that all needed to be eaten ASAP.

I sliced the zucchini and halved the tomatoes, and threw them all on a baking sheet. It really was that simple.

As time has gone on, I’ve thrown extras in there like sweet peppers, garlic and shallots, but you really can roast whatever it is that you want.

Roasted Veggies

What You Need:

Your favorite veggies (or whatever is thisclose to going bad) (cut into bite sized pieces)

1 clove garlic (chopped)

1 small shallot (chopped) (or onion if you really like the taste of onion)

2 TBSP Olive oil

Salt

Black pepper

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Place the veggies, garlic and shallot onto a baking sheet (or a Pyrex, baking tin, whatever you have on hand)

Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies (if you have a lot of veggies, you might need more oil, but don’t go overboard)

Season with salt and pepper according to your tastes (mine ends up being about 1 TBSP salt, 1 tsp pepper)

Toss everything together

Roast in the oven for 35-45min (the edges of the veggies will turn brown and the shallot/onion will become translucent when they’re done)

Messiness – You only really need a baking sheet and a cutting board, so it’s not too messy at all. The sloppiest part is tossing the veggies!

Simplicity – This is so simple that many parents probably didn’t even think it was necessary to teach their kids. Just a little salt, pepper and oil can do wonders!

Budget – Considering this was all stuff that I had in my kitchen anyway, it cost nothing. However, you can find all of these things (when zucchinis are in season) at your local discount grocery store (or the 99 Cent Store, which is where I get most of my produce). And actually, it’s stretching your dollar since it’s stuff that would have gone bad anyway.

Delicious Factor – Yummy! If it didn’t look so much like vegetables, this would be such an easy way to trick kids into eating their greens because it tastes so good! A friend of mine thinks vegetarians are crazy because “food never tastes as good without meat.” Well, even this friend asks me to make these every time we hang out

 

toast

Okay, before you think that I’m crazy let me tell you that I LOVE toast! It is my favorite food.

I’m a carb-o-holic, so bread alone makes me happy as a clam, but bread + butter… I don’t need much else.

Anyway, I live in a small studio apartment, so there’s no counter room for appliances, and sometimes that toaster oven seems like such a hassle. This time, thanks to my laziness, I discovered the PERFECT piece of toast.

It’s not difficult but in the scope of making toast, it’s really detailed.

In the end, you get a lightly crisped piece of bread with all of the softness of a fresh baked loaf.

What You Need:

French bread (or any similar, light bread)

Butter

What You Do:

Take a slice of bread

Put unmelted butter on only the top side

Put the unbuttered bottom side on an ungreased pan (on medium heat)

Wait until butter begins to melt (1-2 minutes)

Take it out and finish buttering

Messiness: It’s exactly as messy as making a piece of toast the normal way. The only difference is that you need a pan, skillet, or something else that can heat up the bread.

Simplicity: Is it difficult? Not at all. Is it easy? Well, it requires more attention than the regular way you make toast, but anyone can still do it. You just need to ask yourself, “Is the most delicious, buttery, soft, perfect piece of toast worth this effort?” I’d hope you would answer yes ;)

Budget: CHEAP! $1 for bread. $1 for butter. Now you can eat toast all day!

Delicious Factor: … I don’t know how to say perfect in enough languages.

NOTE: I’d abandoned this blog for a year, and came back to this gem saved in my drafts. I still make this all of the time (and am currently working through another package of basil).

I really love cooking with basil, but I always end up having to buy a big container when I only need a little bit. My mission this week is to use my package of basil before it goes bad. Last night I had a ton of work to do, and hadn’t even gotten around to cooking dinner. Then I realized I had a bunch of tomatoes from a friend’s garden in my fridge. Perfect!

Here’s how you make this super easy snack/appetizer/meal:

Cut up as many tomatoes as you want to eat into wedges. You can seed them if you like. I always seed half of mine in case some people like the seeds.

Place a small piece of basil on each tomato. The size will depend on how much you like the taste of basil. If you use the size above, it will be a moderately strong taste.

Drizzle olive (or vegetable) oil over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper if you like (I use crushed red peppers) for some spice.

Put as much cheese on as you want. The cheese will get a bit crunchy and taste amazing. All I had last night was shredded colby jack. I also sprinkled some parmesan on it.

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. They will shrivel up the longer you leave them in. If you want firmer tomatoes then only leave in for 30 minutes.

That’s it! Simple, easy and perfect for an appetizer or dinner (if you’re a vegetarian like me). Pro: tomatoes are super high in vitamin C; the same amount as an orange.

Messiness – Possibly the cleanest thing you’ll ever make.

Simplicity – All you’re doing is chopping tomatoes and sprinkling cheese.

Budget – You most likely have cheese in your house so all oyu need is basil and tomatoes (Fresh and Easy has AMAZING deals on tomatoes right now).

Delicious Factor – These tomatoes, despite looking shriveled, come out of the oven incredibly juicy and the melted cheese is crunchy around them. The two factors together are the perfect storm of flavor. It tastes almost like a pizza without the bread. 4/5 (I really like bread)

As a vegetarian, there are three things I try to do with every meal:
1 – Make it healthy
2 – Make it easy
3 – Make it so that it doesn’t make me miss meat

frittata

Luckily, I found a frittata that makes all of  those things happen!

What I love most about this recipe is that it works no matter what produce is in season (if that’s important to you) and it will fool people into thinking you’re a really good chef.

I’d been wanting to make a frittata for awhile (words my 12-year-old self never thought I’d say) and when I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas last year, it was time.

With all that said, I give you this recipe!

frittata 2

What You Need:
6 eggs
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 scallion chopped (if you like the taste of onions then you can use those)
1 tsp salt
1TBSP olive oil (vegetable oil will work, I just like cooking with olive oil)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch thin asparagus, chopped 1/2in long (or any chopped veggies that you like and think will blend well together. If you need more ideas feel fee to ask in the comments :) )
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

What You Do:
Preheat your broiler

Spread the oil around the sides and bottom of the cast iron skillet,  then add the garlic, scallions and veggies. Sautee them until browned, and scallions are translucent

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

Turn the burner to medium heat and pour in the eggs and cheese

Mix everything together well in the pan and let cook until it’s almost completely set and not jiggly (while it’s cooking, lift it up from the bottom a few times. This lets the eggs seep under so that everything is cooked through)

Once set, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on the top and put in the broiler for about three minutes (or until the top is browned).

Take it out, and enjoy!

Messiness - Honestly, it’s no messier than making scrambled eggs or an omelette. The chopping is the messiest part.

Simplicity - If you’re truly a new cook, then this might prove a little confusing, but just because eggs are so tricky sometimes. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it! If you follow the directions, you’ll be just fine! It’s also really easy to wrap up slices in foil and take them to work for breakfast.

Budget - I always find all of these ingredients at the 99 Cent store, except for the parmesan cheese. That will be the most expensive part, but it should still only be around $3 (personally, I LOVE the Trader Joes parmesan which is about $5. If cheese is important to you, then go for the good stuff. It’s worth it)

Delicious Factor – So yummy! And I love that it’s got about the same nutritional value as an omelette. I usually make one and find myself eating it for breakfast and/or dinner over the next few days.

frittata 3

Hello everyone! 

It’s been almost exactly a year, but I’ve finally made my way back to this blog. Over the last 12 months, a lot of my friends and family have approached me, saying that they missed seeing my recipes. So many did, that I’ve decided to start diligently blogging again! For the people! 

And in all seriousness, I didn’t realize how much of a recipe box this blog has been for me. There’s been a ton of times where I’ve thought, “Oh it’s okay that I lost that paper because I blogged that recipe.”

Nope.

In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve still kept to my goal of cooking one new dish a week, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

To start things off, I’m going to show you one of the most amazing things I’ve found… THE MAGIC CAKE!

 

Image

 

I was drawn to this recipe for two reasons: 1 – everyone loves magic, right?! 2- I’m still a terrible baker. So, when I read that this recipe promised a three layer cake with just one bowl of batter, I was in.

An hour and a half later, it was done, and I had a new second favorite dessert (cheesecake will always reign supreme). 

I’d give you the recipe here, but as with my other baking fiascos, just stick to the original HERE.

As for my review of the cake…

 

Messiness – As long as you don’t screw up while beating the eggs, it’s not very messy at all. If I can keep it tidy, I have faith that you can too! The only thing is that a lot of equipment is necessary: egg beaters, two mixing bowls, 8 x 8 pan, measuring cups.

Simplicity – Just follow the directions, and you’ll be a-okay! But make sure to follow them to a T.

Budget – If you are even an occasional baker, you should have most of these things in your house already, but even if you don’t, the ingredients shouldn’t be too expensive at any grocery store.

Delicious Factor – Second favorite dessert behind Cheesecake. I don’t know how much more clear I can be.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that breakfast is a bit of a challenge for me. I wake up at 5am and have to be out the door by 5:40, which means whatever I eat has to be quick to whip up. Scrambled egg-filled potatoes and mini breakfast quiches are a solid choice, but during the summer, I want something filling, but less hearty, and more seasonal.

I happened upon this baked oatmeal recipe from So How’s It Taste? and am in love. It’s simple and easy to whip up on Sunday night before you hit the sheets.

(photo via my Instagram)

What You Need:
1 cup rolled oats (Quaker oatmeal works fine)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup skim milk
1 large, lightly beaten egg
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas (sliced)
1 cup blueberries or raspberries (thawed if frozen)

What You Do:
Preheat your oven to 375F

Lightly grease a small rectangular pan

Mix the oats, baking powder, and cinnamon

In a separate bowl, mix the syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla

Spread the sliced bananas over the bottom of the baking dish, then cover with half of the berries

Pour the oat mixture evenly over the berries and nanners, then pour the liquid mixture evenly over that

Spread the other half of the berries over it all

Bake from 35-40 minutes until it’s all set and the oats have browned

Messiness – There are a few dishes involved, but since you don’t use your hand for much, spreading the bananas is about as messy as it gets.

Simplicity – Very simple! It’s one of those great recipes that encourage you in your baking skills. You can fudge a bit on the timing and it still tastes amazing!

Budget – The original recipe called for walnuts, but those are often expensive, and I’m not a huge fan to be honest. Cutting them out, cut out about $5, give or take. Other than that, you can find just about all the ingredients at the 99 Cent store, or for very cheap in your local grocery store. If you make it during the summer when berries are plentiful, then it’s really inexpensive and will give you a weeks worth of breakfasts.

Delicious Factor – So yummy! it’s got everything you could want in a breakfast. Oatmeal, fruit, eggs and milk. Also, all you have to do is heat it up quickly, and it tastes good all week long. I also drizzled a bit of syrup over mine after heating, before eating, because I’m a sucker for syrup.

NOTE: I’d also imagine that strawberries work just as good as blueberries and raspberries, but haven’t tried it. If you do, please share how it turns out!

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