Refried Bean Quesadillas

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This is probably the most basic recipe — to the point that I feel sheepish even calling it a recipe. It’s more of a life hack that has fed me many times when I thought I could not go on (without some food). If I don’t have any fresh produce or I am in dire need groceries, I whip these up. I always try to keep tortillas and a can of refried beans on hand just for this refried bean quesadilla occasion. You never know when the time may strike, so you gotta be prepared. The modifications are endless, and you’ll likely have at least one of the optional items in your refrigerator or pantry to spice things up (or not; they’re good as-is).

I add everything from sautéed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to hot sauce to shredded cheese on top, and sometimes when my goods are plentiful… all of them! I also think it is key to cook the quesadilla in butter, but this is not necessary. I’ve lately taken to serving an herb vinaigrette on the side as a dipping sauce. So. So. Good! Okay, here’s the base recipe:

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • 6 – 8 in. tortilla (really whatever size you want)
  • 1/2 can of refried beans (really as much as you want)
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Lay tortilla flat and spread a layer of refried beans on it.
  2. Lay the other tortilla on top of the refried beans (add any of the other optional toppings below), and pinch around the sides so as to enclose the beans.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Once it is heated throughout, spread a layer of butter (or olive oil, or any other fat) to coat the skillet and then heat the butter (this prevents sticking).
  4. Once the butter is heated, add the quesadilla to the skillet, and cook until browned (about 2-3 minutes). Flip the quesadilla, and cook until the other side is browned (about 1-2 minutes).
  5. Add any optional toppings to the top of it all or find a dipping sauce that you like to serve on the side. And we’re done!

Optional:

  • Fresh herbs, chopped (cilantro is great)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cooked rice
  • Sautéed vegetables
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Greek yogurt with lemon
  • Herb vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, any other fresh herbs)
  • Hot sauce
  • You do you — get crazy!

Lemony Herbed Breakfast Salad

I went on a two-mile walk this morning around Lake Merritt, and when I returned home, I felt the need to treat myself (healthy style). The fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice and zest truly make this salad feel decadent, yet also very light. A perfect way to start the new week.

Pretty much everything can be subbed for something different, or omitted if you don’t have it. If you don’t have a lemon, sub balsamic or champagne vinegar. If you don’t have feta cheese, substitute another fat — toasted walnuts or crumbled goat cheese would be great. For the fresh herbs, use as many as you have on hand. You get the point… all we are doing is adding a protein, fat, herbs, and greens together with a citrus and an oil, topped with sea salt and ground pepper. Okay, now for the ingredients.

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Ingredients (one serving)

  • Egg, fried (yolk still runny, but white part solid)
  • 1-2 sprigs each of dill, parsley, & cilantro (stems removed, chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. feta cheese
  • Mixed sweet greens (or green of your choice)

Dressing

  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Lemon zest (about 1/4 tsp.)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Assemble the salad: lay the mixed greens and top with the egg. Then sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs and feta cheese on the salad.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle on top of the assembled salad.
  3. Top with sea salt and ground pepper. I also added red pepper flakes for some spice, but that is completely optional.

Tempeh Tacos with Healthy Sour Cream

In college I attended a school in a small college town called Clemson. I was vegetarian or vegan for almost the entirety of my college career, and in small college towns, there were very few offerings in the way of vegan or vegetarian food.

So, I had to learn to cook for myself! I obtained a cookbook, called “The Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook” by Carole Raymond, and it saved my life and also taught me how to cook… on a budget. It’s only appropriate that the first recipe on this blog is a modified recipe from the cookbook (and it’s not vegan, unless you don’t add the healthy sour cream).

This was one of my favorite recipes, because it took so little time to prepare and required very little effort on my end. Now that I have more experience under my belt, I have learned to modify and make it fit my taste a bit better, but it’s still close to the original.

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Tempeh Tacos with Healthy Sour Cream

Ingredients

Tempeh

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. salsa
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • Frank’s Red Hot, or other hot sauce of your choice, to taste
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Healthy “Sour Cream”

  • 1 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Condiments/Other

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lettuce of your choice
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Tortillas

Directions

Mix the tempeh ingredients together in a shallow bowl using 3 tbsp. of the olive oil, and coat tempeh evenly. Let tempeh marinade for about an hour, stirring every so often.

Heat skillet on medium-high. Once heated, coat the skillet with the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil.* Once olive oil is hot, add the marinated tempeh and let it cook for about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Set aside.

Combine the Greek yogurt with the lemon or lime juice. Stir to combine. Set aside. You now have your healthy sour cream!

Warm tortillas and then add the cooked tempeh, sour cream, and whatever other condiments you desire.

* By first allowing the skillet to heat, and then adding the olive oil and allowing the olive oil to heat, we are preventing sticking to the pan.