Monday, February 28, 2011

Tamale Pie!

So on Friday afternoon I was looking for something delicious to make for dinner that evening and came across this post by the lovely Sonja and Alex of A Couple Cooks. We have tacos fairly often at our house, and maybe one other Mexican dish, but otherwise, despite how much I love it, I don't often make the cuisine.


When I saw the post for Vegetable Tamale Pies, I knew it would be something delicious and decided I had to make some for myself! Now, I don't have fancy individual serving dishes, so I made my in an actual pie dish. Thus my presentation clearly was not as lovely as it could have been, but I will definitely vouch for this being awesome. We ate ours with tortilla chips and a fork with a dollop of sour cream and it was the perfect meal, and had leftovers for lunch the next day!

I've never made polenta before, but it was super easy and I will for sure be making this again!

Tamale Pie
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
1 cup cornmeal for polenta
2 cans black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1.5 teaspoons cumin (my cumin is super strong, so I cut back a bit from the original)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2-3/4 cup grated cheddar
Sour cream to serve

Make the polenta. When it's done, spread a layer evenly in the bottom of your baking dish. Chop the cilantro. Drain the can of diced tomatoes to remove excess liquid. If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans. In large bowl, coarsely mash the beans with a fork. Add 1 cup corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, salsa, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon oregano, a bit of salt, and 1/4 cup cilantro. Mix to combine. Spoon the bean mixture on top of the polenta. Top the dish with cheese and remaining cilantro. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through. Top with sour cream to serve. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Homemade Granola

We eat a TON of granola at our house. In fact, the checkout guy/girl at T-Joes often comments on how much granola is in our cart. Alex eats a bowl for breakfast every morning, and I have a little tupperware of it with my yogurt for a snack at work during the week.

Pending on where you buy it, granola can get pretty pricey. Trader Joes makes it pretty reasonable, but, I've known for awhile I should probably be investigating making it at home. I've seen tons of recipes online and in blogs, but everything seemed to call for stuff like wheat germ and other stuff I just never have gotten around to buying.

A couple weeks ago I got down to some serious searching in google and found this recipe on Joy the Baker for a Martha Stewart version of Toasted Almond Granola. Good old Martha, she does quality stuff.

This recipe was not only SUPER easy, but called for stuff we actually had on hand. I've since made 3 more batches, and have since made, what Alex and I think at least, is the perfect granola. The best part about granola is that you can totally make up whatever you want and add whatever you like. It's so easy to tinker with and really hard to screw up. I've added in chocolate chips or pecans as well, and both are a fun treat.

Toasted Almond Granola
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Joy the Baker

5-6 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven 325 degrees F. Line one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix together oats, coconut, cinnamon and nuts.


In a saucepan, melt together butter, oil, honey and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Stir continually. As soon as the mixture boils, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir. Pour the warm mixture over the oats and almonds and toss together with a wooden spoon, ensuring that all of the oat mixture gets mixed with the sugar syrup.

Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet(s) and bake for about 12 minutes. (Our oven runs hot, so bake accordingly) Remove from the oven and let cool.