Santiago Bean Dip

This dip is fantastic.  If you’re having a get together for Labor Day, you should definitely make this.  Everyone will thank you.

My dear friend, Becky, made this a while back for a baked potato bar dinner party, and it was super scrumptious!  I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  So since we were cooking for vegetarians and gluten-free eaters at the beach, I thought a baked potato bar with this dip would be the perfect thing.  It was a huge hit and the leftovers of this dip make an excellent snack with tortilla chips, or would be great mixed with scrambled eggs, or would be delicious eaten with a spoon!  …I think I need to make this again ASAP.

For convenience sake I left out the rice when I made it at the beach.  Next time I’ll add it in.  It’s not very noticeable, but acts as a great binder for all the delicious beans and cheese.

Santiago Bean DipSantiago Bean Dip (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 8-10

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 (15oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh, but 1 can of diced tomatoes would probably work too)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  •  1/4 cup pickled jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan or deep casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix beans, rice, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, spices and 4 cups of cheese together.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes, until bubbly.  Remove foil and add remaining cheese.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted.   Serve with baked potatoes, chips, eggs, crackers, or spoons!


One Pot, Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?  It’s definitely a favorite of mine and one of my favorite comfort foods.  This stovetop mac and cheese is wonderful.  The macaroni is cooked in milk, which makes it creamy and easy; and the combination of cheese is salty, creamy, melty deliciousness.  I’m getting cravings just writing this!  One pot makes clean-up easy, what more could you ask for from your favorite comfort food?

One Pot, Stovetop Mac and CheeseOne Pot Stovetop Mac and Cheese (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4

Adapted from White On Rice Couple

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked (about 3/4 lb)
  • 2 cups low fat milk, more on hand if needed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 heaping cup shredded cheese (I recommend a blend of cheddar and swiss and parmesan, although I think a pepper jack would be really fun)

Place pasta in a colander and rinse with water.  In a large saucepan, add pasta, milk, butter, mustard powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Over medium heat, slowly bring the milk to a simmer, stirring frequently.    Once the mixture comes to a simmer, quickly turn the heat down to low.

Let macaroni slowly cook in the milk stirring constantly.  After about 15 minutes, or once the milk has mostly been absorbed and pasta is cooked, add the shredded cheese and mix well.  Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the macaroni to finish absorbing the last of the milk.

Taste, adjust seasoning as needed, and serve immediately.

Smoked Turkey and Cheese Brunch Torte

This was an awesome recipe my mom found in Taste of Home years ago and she’s been eager to make it ever since.  Easter’s potluck breakfast was finally her opportunity, and it was awesome!  Sadly she didn’t even get a chance to try her creation, so I made it again so she’d get to try it.  This is definitely a great standby and would be just as good made vegetarian with some extra spinach and mushrooms or whatever vegetables you have on hand (asparagus?  roasted butternut squash? sautéed cabbage?).  When I made this I used one layer of provolone and one layer of smoked Gouda which was delicious and added extra smokiness.

Next time I plan to try it with a lot more spinach, the recipe only called for 6oz, but I used a full package of spinach and still didn’t think it was enough.  I’ll also try this next time with 1/2 egg whites just to lighten it up a bit and because the egg is not a major flavor, so I think it’d be fine with egg whites substituted in.

Smoked Turkey and Cheese Brunch TortSmoked Turkey and Cheese Brunch Torte slice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 8

Adapted from Taste of Home (April/May 2011)

  • 2 tubes (8oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2 pkgs (or more) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pkg (8oz) fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb thinly sliced smoked turkey
  • 1/2 lb sliced provolone cheese
  • 24 oz jar of roasted sweet red peppers, drained, sliced and patted dry

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place a greased 9″ springform pan on a double layer of heavy duty foil.  Wrap pan securely with foil.

Open one tube of crescent rolls and shape to press into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet sauté mushrooms in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once mushrooms have had a chance to brown, add in the spinach and toss together until spinach has wilted.  Remove to a paper towel to drain and pat dry before using.

In a large bowl, whisk together 6 eggs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and pepper.Smoked Turkey and Cheese Brunch Torte (A Seat at the Table)

Layer the prepared crust with half the turkey,cheese, red peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and egg mixture.  Repeat layers.

Use the remaining tube of crescent rolls to form a crust on top.  Beat the remaining egg and brush over the dough.

Bake for 45 minutes, then cover with foil if it’s browning too quickly, and let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Carefully run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen.  Let stand for 10-20 minutes before slicing (the longer the better…I have no patience for letting food sit, so you can see how oozy delicious it is hot).  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Homemade pizza

Happy new year!  Are you a resolution maker?  While I don’t really make resolutions, I do like the fresh start of a new year.  And whether you’re resolving to eat healthier, spend more time with your family, cook more meals at home, save money, or you just want a delicious meal, I’ve got the recipe for you!  Homemade pizza!

I’m a big fan of pizza, but let’s be honest most pizza places are greasy and not exactly health food.  However, making pizza at home you have more control, you can add whatever toppings you like to develop your perfect pizza.  This is also a great meal to do with the family or friends, just make enough dough for everyone to get one (or share) and have everyone make their own pizzas.  And by cooking at home you’re saving money that you’d normally be spending on delivery pizza.  In conclusion, this is a win.

This was even more fun for me, because I got to make use of my fun new kitchen gadgets!  I made the dough using my new stand mixer, found the dough recipe from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and used my new kitchen scale.  Fun new projects!  I’ll try not to get too crazy with lots of recipes that require special equipment, but I have to say, making dough in the stand mixer was SO easy!  I also tried this recipe with about 1 cup of whole wheat flour in place of 1 cup of bread flour, this made the dough a big thinner and crispier, but still delicious.

Leisurely Pizza DoughHomemade pizza

Makes 2 pizzas (about 12″ round)

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (380 grams) bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • olive oil, for the bowl

Pour water into large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until rough mass forms.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  (If using a stand mixer, turn to medium until rough loose mass forms, and then reduce speed and continue to mix for 5 minutes.)  Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place dough inside and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit in the fridge overnight.  An hour or two before you want to use it, bring back to room temperature to allow to rise.

Sauce:Mushroom Squash and Corn Pizza

  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste, this was very subtle)
  • 1/8 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Sauce will cook on the pizza, so no need to heat it ahead of time.  Scale up if making more than two pizzas.


Preheat oven to highest temperature (my oven went to 550°F).  Pour a little coarse cornmeal onto a baking sheet and stretch dough out on it.  Top with a spoonful or two of tomato sauce and then top with your favorite toppings.  I recommend fresh sliced mozzarella, shredded sharp cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, roasted butternut squash, corn…or at least that’s what I used this time.  Use what ingredients you have on hand, and feel free to experiment!Homemade Pizza

Once you have reached your ideal pizza (although don’t pile toppings too high or the center won’t cook), slide pan into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.  When the crust is beginning to brown and the cheese is bubbly, it’s done!  Carefully slide pizza onto a cutting board, and cut up.

Frightfully Good Stuffed Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!  To celebrate… more pumpkin!!!

A year ago my aunt, Sharon, told Mom and me about this amazing recipe she made.  It sounded delightful, but stuffing a pumpkin sounds kind of hard, so we didn’t ever get around to making it until now.  And as I text Sharon, I kind of hate myself for waiting a whole year.  This is amazing.  Like holy YUM amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend you celebrate Halloween with one of these stuffed pumpkins.  Or if you don’t have a strict menu of timeless family favorites that you absolutely must make at Thanksgiving (like us), this would be a wonderfully lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table.  It’s vegetarian, so you can carve it instead of a turkey if you swing that way.  Just don’t wait a year.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait a week before making this again.

I picked up the cheese for this at Whole Foods, they have a bin of oddly shaped bits of cheese, so I was able to pick up Gruyere and Blue Cheese in just the right amount.  Then again having “leftover” cheese is never a problem in my mind.

Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin

Serves 4

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1 pumpkin, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 4 oz stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2″ cubes (however much fits)
  • 4 oz cheese, such as Gruyere, Swiss, Blue, Cheddar or a blend–cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a Dutch oven that’s the same diameter as your pumpkin (although your pumpkin will stick and you’ll have to scoop it out instead of cut into it).

Using a sturdy knife, carefully cut a cap off the top of the pumpkin.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits (just like carving a pumpkin).  Season the inside with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet or Dutch oven.

Stuff the pumpkin in layers, starting with the bread cubes, then garlic, then cheese.  Repeat until the pumpkin is filled.  Mix together cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into the pumpkin.  Adjust ingredients as needed, you want the pumpkin to be filled and just moistened by the cream mixture.  Put the cap back in place and bake for about 2 hours, check after the first 90 minutes, everything inside is bubbly and the outside is tender enough to be pierced with a sharp knife.  Remove the cap for the last 20 minutes so the top can brown.

Cut the pumpkin into slices and serve.

Apple Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Sadly apple picking at my favorite farm has ended.  Mom and I made a good showing this year, I think we went fruit picking at least twice a month since the farm opened in late spring.  While I will miss the abundance of apples, it will be nice not to try and force 20 lbs of apples into the fridge and I can probably do with a break from apples for a little while (if you eat three apples a day do you keep the doctor away for an extra long time?).

One of my favorite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats, had this recipe for Orchard Turkey Burgers that sounded so intriguing.  I’ve had it pinned since August, and just happened to pick up some ground turkey at the store and on the way home I knew this is what I had to make.  It was delicious!  I loved that it doesn’t need to be served on a bun.  The apple in the burgers is subtle but keeps them super moist and tender.  The extra-sharp cheddar contrasts with the caramelized onions to create a real flavor explosion!  Definitely a keeper recipe!

Apple Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Serves 8

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 2 jumbo onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, grated
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • extra-sharp cheddar cheese, sliced

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add sliced onions.  Cook the onions slowly over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt to taste.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and deliciously caramelized.

Meanwhile, mix together turkey, grated apples, thyme, garlic and onion powder, sat and pepper.  Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and form into patties.  Lightly brush the outside of the patties with olive oil.  Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat.  When pan is hot, add patties.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes until golden, flip the burger and add cheddar cheese on top.  Cook for another couple of minutes until browned on the bottom and cooked through.  Serve over a bed of greens and top with caramelized onions.

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mom and I made this for lunch the other day at the spur of the moment.  I saw a recipe for stuffed shells with kale and thought we could mix something up for stuffed peppers.  Dishes like this are a great way of using up some of the things you have in the fridge that you don’t have a plan for.  This used up some extra cheese and vegetables; stuffed peppers are super versatile and are a great opportunity to try new flavor combinations.

I would definitely make these again.  Maybe with even more kale in the peppers because the kale in the stuffing was my favorite part!  As you can see we steamed the whole bunch of kale and used half for the stuffed peppers and had the other half on the side.  Delicious!

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

Adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 5 bell peppers, cored and halved
  • 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella (plus more to sprinkle on top)
  • 3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a large pot steam or saute the kale.  In a small pot, toast the quinoa then add 1 1/2 cups water, a sprinkle of salt and the pressed garlic; bring to a boil.  Simmer the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed.  Place the halved peppers cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Place peppers in the oven for about 8 minutes, while finish making the filling.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Mix in the kale and quinoa.  Take the peppers out of the oven, flip and fill.  Top with a little bit more mozzarella or parmesan, loosely cover with foil and return to the oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for ages.  As soon as I saw it, I thought it would be an awesome combination.  I was not disappointed.  These shortbreads have an amazing buttery taste even though there’s no butter.  The rosemary and parmesan are a great match.

These are perfect as a snack, a fun appetizer, a great accompaniment to a salad, and/or a great pairing with drinks.

Savory Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread 

Makes 30

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups freshly grated parmesan
  • sea salt for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the oats in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the water over it.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, brown sugar and egg.  Pour the mixture over the oats, stir to combine and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, rosemary, and black pepper.  Whisk to combine, then stir in the parmesan.

Gradually stir the flour mixture into the oat mixture.

Scoop the batter onto greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheets (they don’t spread out a lot so you should be able to fit them all on two pans).  Flatten the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle a little flakey sea salt over each shortbread.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until set and starting to turn golden.

Savory Bread Pudding

Thanks to a whole bunch of rolls leftover from the Men’s Retreat this past weekend, I knew I needed to make a bread pudding for Tuesday’s SCL dinner.  Bread pudding is delicious both sweet and savory.  This recipe is one of my old standbys from a few years ago.  It’s easily adaptable, so feel free to adjust the recipe according to what you have on hand. I added onion and green pepper this time, which sneaks in a few extra vegetables (I’m always a fan of more vegetables).

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (8oz) packages of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs plus 3 large egg whites
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 loaf day old bread cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, pepper, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.  Cook until the vegetables are starting to brown, 10-15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, 2 Tbsp parmesan, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir in bread cubes and let soak for about 10 minutes (more or less depending on how hard your bread is).  Stir in the cooled mushroom mixture and the shredded cheese.  Pour into the baking dish and top with remaining parmesan.  Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.  let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Miniature makes it better

I have to say that one of my favorite kitchen tools is my mini-muffin pan.  There’s just nothing as cute as a mini little bite of something.  That said, I was instantly drawn to these Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups.  These are like mini quiches, but without the decadent crust.  The quinoa (a high protein seed that works well as a whole grain) adds delicious substance and extra nutrients.  The fact that their mini, makes them great for snacks, buffets, appetizers, and kids’ meals.  Although if you don’t have a mini-muffin tin I’m sure they’ll be just as delicious in a regular muffin tin (although slightly less cute).  While I haven’t had a chance yet to experiment with new flavors, I’m sure these would be great with a variety of flavors!  I’m eager to try various vegetarian versions, so I’ll keep you posted on my experiments!

Mini Quinoa Bites

Makes 28 mini muffins (or 24 with 1 ramekin sized one)

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa* (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  In a greased (or nonstick), mini-muffin pan, spoon mixture into each cup (fill to top, as these don’t rise).  Bake for 20 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the center is set.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to a cooling rack.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  Reheat in microwave for 30 seconds.

*To cook quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh sieve, then place in pot with twice as much water as quinoa and about 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.  (If you’re too lazy to rinse the quinoa, like me, you can put it in the pan and toast it briefly on medium-high heat before adding the water.  The rinsing is supposed to remove whatever makes quinoa taste slightly acidic/bitter.  I’ve never really noticed/had a problem with it when I just toast the quinoa.  Do what feels right to you!)