Edamame and Great Northern White Bean Dip Recipe

Edamame and Great Northern White Bean Dip & Spread #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge | Meal Planning Magic

Edamame and Great White Northern Beans combine in this unique recipe to make a delicious sandwich spread or dip. It may seem like an unlikely pairing but it’s something I’ve been thinking about trying ever since coming across similar recipes online (was it Pinterest, another blog? I can’t remember, but I know I saw it!)

These last few weeks have been crazy busy for me. I have been gone somewhere every weekend for the last month and a half! That means less time in the kitchen for me so this month’s Eating the Alphabet post is a few days behind. Oh well..better late than never!

Healthy Family Ingredients

When trying to decide what ingredient I wanted to feature this month, I knew I wanted to use edamame. My whole family loves to eat steamed edamame in the pods but I have seen lots of recipes here and there using this soybean in salads, dips or other dishes. I decided I wanted to make a dip sort of like hummus but also using white beans instead of the traditional cannellini beans. In searching the web I never really found a recipe exactly like what I was looking for so I created my own!

This is SO incredibly easy you will ask yourself why you don’t make it more often. It is delicious served with cut up vegetables like carrots or cucumber but also tastes great with pita chips (I was out of those so didn’t include them in the picture). Not only can you enjoy it as a dip but it is also delicious as a spread on a sandwich or wrap. Best of all it can be made ahead and will store in the refrigerator for two days.

A Nutritious Snack

Edamame has been around for centuries and is popular in many Asian cuisines. This legume is packed with fiber, protein and antioxidants such as vitamins C and A as well as being high in iron. A half cup serving of edamame has 9 grams of fiber—as much as four slices of whole-wheat bread and as much iron as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast. Great Northern Beans are also full of fiber and iron as well as potassium. These legumes and beans are a powerhouse of nutrition and taste great together too!

Edamame and Great Northern White Bean Dip & Spread #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can Great Northern White beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups edamame, unshelled and cooked per package directions
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth, about one minute. Transfer the dip/spread to a bowl or storage container. Cover and chill until the flavors are blended, at least 30 minutes. Serve cold. This dip/spread can be refrigerated up to two days.

Notes

Add more cilantro if you'd like a little more zip!

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Simple ingredients and SO easy to make!

Simple ingredients and SO easy to make!

Steamed edamame--love the bright green goodness!

Steamed edamame–love the bright green goodness!

Just a touch of a button for a minute or so and that's it! Chill to blend flavors.

Just a touch of a button for a minute or so and that’s it! Chill to blend flavors.

And these soybeans are Non-GMO. My husband picked them up for me and probably had no idea--but yay him!

And these soybeans are Non-GMO. My husband picked them up for me and probably had no idea–but yay him!

Bloggers, Join the Eating The Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge!

For all the details check out my post from earlier this year (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete which you can find here).

Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter E or F?
Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!



No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites Recipe (sweetened with Dates)

eanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites--made using Dates! | #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge #vegan | Meal Planning Magic
Can you believe it’s already the middle of March? That means it’s time for another Eating the Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge! I’m a few days late because I was out of town on vacation for Spring Break. If you’re new here, this blog hop features fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes to help us discover delicious new ways to enjoy these healthy foods. And hopefully make some of them a little more interesting by choosing a different letter each month. For more details on how it all works, see the end of this post (and if you’re a blogger, find out how you can join us!)

A Healthier Natural Sweetener (and Vegan!)

This month I chose dates. I have been seeing all sorts of things on the web about how to use these vitamin and fiber-filled powerhouses as natural sweeteners in tasty treats so I knew I wanted to give them a try. Plus, I needed a reason to use some of that big bag of dates I bought at Costco a few months ago! It seems like there have also been a lot of recipes popping up about how to make homemade energy bars like Clif or Lara bars. I knew I wanted to try something like that but in a bite-size form. So the other day I had a craving for something with peanut butter and chocolate. I couldn’t find a recipe that had just the right combination of ingredients so I came up with my own based on a compilation of some of those I had seen. Did you know that dates are an excellent source of iron and also potassium? They are also rich in lots of minerals like calcium and manganese and many other anti-oxidants. They are also full of fiber!

Delicious Peanut Butter & Chocolate-A Great Combination

These little bites were SO delicious that I could not stop eating them! They kind of reminded me of some I used to make growing up. But what’s great about these is that they are a guilt-free treat because they are all natural and vegan too (for those who follow that diet). The reviews from my family were a little more mixed. My son LOVED them and has had one for a snack nearly every day for a couple of weeks. He thinks he is getting a real treat just like a cookie or brownie but I feel much better giving him one of these! My daughter liked them too but thought the bites were a bit too rich so my second batch was just a one-bite version. My husband didn’t care for them but I realized later it’s probably because he does not like anything fudgy—which these are very similar to. I shared some with my neighbor and she had similar results—she loved them and her family liked them too.

I am so glad to have found this delicious way to enjoy dates and satisfy my sweets craving at the same time in a healthy way. They make up so quickly, I bet you’ll always want to have some of these on hand! And an extra bonus? They are vegan too (for those of you who watch that kind of thing!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup dried dates, chopped
  • 1/2-¾ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½-2/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (start with 1/2 cup and add more if it's still too sticky)

Instructions

  1. Place dates and peanut butter in food processor. Cover and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add coconut, cocoa powder and oatmeal until fully blended. The mixture will form a ball and be very sticky. Using a 1-inch scoop, form balls and place on baking sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. May be kept in refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to three months.
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Just a few simple, natural ingredients is all it takes to whip up these delicious, nutritious sweet bites.

Just a few simple, natural ingredients is all it takes to whip up these delicious, nutritious sweet bites.

Dates and peanut butter ready to be blended!

Dates and peanut butter ready to be blended!

Blend the dates and peanut butter first until a creamy mixture forms.

Blend the dates and peanut butter first until a creamy mixture forms.

After you'veblended the  dates and peanut butter, add the rest of the ingredients. Just a few quick pulses is all it takes!

After you’ve blended the dates and peanut butter, add the rest of the ingredients. Just a few quick pulses is all it takes!

Use a scooper to help make rolling into balls a bit easier.

Use a scooper to help make rolling into balls a bit easier.

All the balls are ready to be chilled then enjoyed!

All the balls are ready to be chilled then enjoyed!

Bloggers, Join the Eating The Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge!

For all the details check out my post from earlier this year (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete which you can find here).

Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter C or D? Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!

Easy Beet Chips

Easy Beet Chips recipe | #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge | Meal Planning Magic

Welcome to the first month of the Eating the Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge for 2013! This blog hop will feature fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes to help us discover delicious new ways to enjoy these healthy foods. And hopefully make some of them a lot less intimidating! Each month we’ll choose from a couple of different letters (this month it is A or B) so we can explore a variety of options. For all the details check out my post from last month (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete). http://www.mealplanningmagic.com/2013/01/eating-the-alphabet-healthy-recipe-challenge-new-for-2013.html

This month I chose beets! I’ll admit I haven’t tried many dishes with beets unless you count the occasional pickled beets on a salad bar. But did you know that beets are a great choice for cardiovascular health? They are a rich source of betaine which helps lessen your body’s concentration of homocysteine, which can be harmful to your blood vessels. Beets also reduce high blood pressure. And they are also a great source of vitamin C.

There is a local restaurant that my husband and I like to go to called Guru Burgers & Crepes. I love that they use a lot of organic and locally sourced ingredients. But their food is also super delicious! It was there that we first tried beet chips. They come as an option for a side dish. We could not stop munching on these! They are slightly sweet and salty. And I love that they are all natural and healthier for us too.

I’ve wanted to try and make them at home. I’ve made kale chips before so why not beet chips? These were SO easy! And they tasted almost like the ones we got at the restaurant (not quite as crispy but maybe because mine were baked and not fried).

Easy Beet Chips {Eating the Alphabet series} #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized beets, thinly sliced
  • ½-1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside (this will help keep your baking sheet from staining)
  2. Trim stem and leaves from beets (save for another use like pureeing into a smoothie).
  3. Scrub beets then slice VERY thinly. It might be helpful to use a mandolin if you have one (I didn’t—I just used a big chef’s knife).
  4. Toss sliced beets with olive oil and salt and spread out in single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or longer, until crispy. Flip partway through to achieve more "crisp". Cool and enjoy!

Notes

TIP: use a darker cutting board if you have one. I have a red one so used that to prevent staining.

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Inside these beets is a gorgeous red color waiting to be eaten!

They may not look very beautiful on the outside but on the inside these beets is a gorgeous red color waiting to be eaten!

Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to make delicious beet chips!

Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to make delicious beet chips!

I used a red cutting mat to avoid staining on my white cutting board.

I used a red cutting mat to avoid staining on my white cutting board.

All the beet sliced and ready on parchment paper to be baked.

All the beet sliced and ready on parchment paper to be baked.

I used tongs to flip them partway through so they would crisp on both sides!

I used tongs to flip them partway through so they would crisp on both sides!

I will definitely be making these again and hopefully expanding my repertoire when it comes to beets.

One thing I know I want to try is making all-natural food dyes. Recently, for my daughter’s birthday party, we got her cake from Whole Foods (her birthday is very near the holidays and I just wasn’t up to baking it myself). It was fantastic and best of all everything is all natural! The pinks and blues of the flowers were made from beet and purple cabbage “dye”. One other great thing is that the quarter sheet cake was no more expensive than a cake of similar size from another bakery. Ok, that was a little tangent but it has made me more intrigued to discover new uses for beets!

Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter A or B?

Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!



Watermelon Lemonade Slush

This month’s Eating the Alphabet was, well, challenging! The letters for this month are U, V, & W and that makes for pretty limited choices. But I knew what I wanted to choose and that was Watermelon. Now I’m going to say right up front that I know most of you all will not be able to make this recipe since it’s November  and watermelons are out of season for most areas of the country but I couldn’t wait to share it for this month’s challenge!

You see, we love watermelon in our house during the summer. We LOVE watermelon! Watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A, a powerful anti-oxidant. It’s also very low in calories (just 30 calories per 100g) and rich in electrolytes and water content.

Watermelon Lemonade Slush | Meal Planning Magic | #EatAtoZChallenge

Even though we love watermelon, sometimes, if we get a really big one, we don’t always finish it before it starts to get mushy. That’s usually because we like a variety of fruits for our day or we can only eat so much watermelon for so long, you know?

So when I have leftover watermelon, I like to cut it into chunks, remove all the seeds and puree it in my blender. Then I pour that puree into ice cube trays and voila! Watermelon cubes. These are delicious just as an ice cube in water or tea but our favorite way to enjoy it is as frozen lemonade type slush. It’s not much of a recipe at all. I just take a handful of watermelon cubes and put them in the blender. Then I add about a cup and a half of prepared lemonade (we like Simply Lemonade but you can also make your own from scratch).

Then I just blend it up; pour it into a glass and yum! You’ve got a delicious, cool, fruity drink—it’s like a taste of summer any time of the year!

Watermelon Lemonade Slush

Ingredients

  • About 2 cups watermelon, cut up and seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups lemonade

Instructions

  1. Puree cut watermelon and pour into ice cube trays.
  2. Freeze puree until solid.
  3. Put 4-5 watermelon cubes in a blender.
  4. Add lemonade.
  5. Blend and pour into a glass.
  6. Enjoy!
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(Sorry I don’t have more pictures to share. For some reason, I couldn’t find the ones I had taken this summer of my watermelon prep!)

I pop the watermelon puree cubes out of the tray after they’re frozen and store in a bag so I can grab a few at a time when I want them.

You can also use them just as ice cubes and let them melt into your beverage.

Just put them in the blender, add the lemonade and blend–easy!

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter U, V or W? Please share with us in the comments below!

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. We’re nearly to the end of our 2012 Challenge but if you’d like to join us for our last month or be in the loop for 2013, please fill out the form. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up and join us!

And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter U, V or W—fruit, veggie or grain-style–this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:
Letter A or B-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C or D-Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E or F-Easy Eggplant Parmesan
Letter G or H–Ginger Garlic Broccoli
Letter I or J–Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad
Letter K or L–Fruity Kiwi Salsa
Letter M, N or O–Mango Quesadillas
Letter P, Q, R–Peach Pecan Muffins
Letter S or T–Tomatillo Salsa with Sweet Potato Chips



Easy Tomatillo Salsa

Easy Tomatillo Salsa recipe | Eat A to Z Healthy Recipe Challenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

When I was trying to decide on this month’s fruit or vegetable for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge I was reminded of those fun sounding little things called tomatillos. Are they a fruit or a vegetable? Well, like the well-known tomatoes often called a vegetable but really a fruit, they are the same: a fruit.
They are pretty much a year-round staple here in Texas and used in many regional dishes. And I found out that they were grown as far back as 800 B.C. in Aztec cultures! Wow! Low in calories and high in anti-oxidants, they are a great choice to add to your cooking.

My mother-in-law loves to go to a produce market near where she lives where she can talk shop with the owner and wheel and deal on produce for a great price. A couple of years ago, she and my daughter made this delicious salsa to use the tomatillos and bell peppers she had picked up at that market. We just could not get enough of it! With only a few ingredients, it’s a cinch to make. I hadn’t had it in awhile and when I made it for this month’s Challenge I wondered why I don’t keep this as a staple in my refrigerator all the time! Again, I just could not get enough. I served mine with sweet potato chips because a) I’m slightly addicted lately to these chips from Terra and 2) my family had eaten up the last of our regular tortilla chips before I reminded them I needed some for my photo. Oops! Never mind, I think the slightly sweet flavor of the sweet potato chips compliments the salty sour flavor of the salsa.

Below is the recipe my mother-in-law used although I found a few online that are pretty similar so feel free to tweak it to your own preferences—it’s pretty forgiving! Also, I decided to roast instead of steam hoping to add a little bit of that roasted flavor.

Easy Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients

  • Tomatillo Salsa
  • 1 lb. tomatillos
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, diced
  • ½-1 bunch cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Remove papery covering on tomatillos and wash. Cut tomatillos in half horizontally. Slice bell pepper and jalapeno in half lengthwise. Place all produce cut side down in large roasting dish. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes, flipping items over about halfway through.
  2. Cool then puree all ingredients in blender.
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This salsa gets even better tasting after it’s chilled a bit in the refrigerator and the flavors blend together. I hope you’ll give it a try sometime soon!

Blended up–simple as that and enjoyed with chips or on just about anything you like to have salsa on.

All roasted and cooling, soon to be ready to blend up into a delcious salsa!

Isn’t all this green just gorgeous?

Cut the tomatillos in half HORIZONTALLY, so you can get some yummy roasted-ness going on.

Just five ingredients (plus salt to taste)–that’s all it takes. Simple!

These are my current favorite sweet potato chips. They’re actually pretty low in fat and calores and only a couple of ingredients. Yum! Or you could make your own.

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter P, Q or R? Please share with us in the comments below!

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter M. N or O—fruit, veggie or grain-style–this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:
Letter A or B-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C or D-Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E or F-Easy Eggplan Parmesan
Letter G or H–Ginger Garlic Broccoli
Letter I or J–Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad
Letter K or L–Kiwi Salsa
Letter M, N or O–Mango Poblano Quesadillas
Letter P, Q, or R–Peach Pecan Muffins



Peach Pecan Muffins

Peach Muffins | Meal Planning Magic | #EatA2ZChallenge

I’ve been a little busy lately updating my MyRecipes account of saved recipes. I love it because one of my favorite magazines, Southern Living, has all their recipes in their database so I can read the magazine (and get lots of other home decorating, entertaining, and travel ideas), save my recipes into my virtual inbox and then pass the magazine along to a friend. They have SO many recipes there, I love that I can create a custom cookbook of sorts.

So when it came to this month’s Eating the Alphabet Challenge, I turned to MyRecipes for some recipe inspiration. For months, I knew I wanted to try making parsnips. I had never had them much less made anything using them but after a friend told me last year that she made them and mashed them AND that her whole family liked them (four boys and her husband!) I knew this is what I wanted to make when P came around. Well, unfortunately I didn’t have such great success. I chose to roast ours since we love roasted vegetables so much these days. I don’t know what the deal was but after nearly 40 minutes of roasting they just never got tender. I was bummed.

My first pick: roasted parsnips. Didn’t turn out so well.

Look at all these foods I had on hand that start with the letter P! Coincidence? I’m not sure!

So I went to Plan B and that was to choose one of the many P fruits I had on hand. Yes, I had pears, plums, pluots, peaches and even canned pumpkin (which I love to have just about any time of year). I even had some pecans on hand! Frankly, there are so many wonderful options that start with the letters P, Q & R, it was hard to choose at all! do love cooking with pears, like these Pear Walnut Power Muffins but this time I decided to do something with some peaches. Mine were getting pretty ripe so it was perfect (the recipe actually calls for frozen peaches so you can have these muffins any time of year!) Peaches are rich in Vitamin A and a good source of dietary fiber. I wanted to use the pecans too so after a quick search online, I found these Peach Pecan Muffins. Pecans are a great source of lots of antioxidants including Vitamin E and they are also low in sodium.

Now, let me tell you, these muffins are not low-cal. There’s a fair amount of butter and sugar in these but they sure are delicious. The streusel made probably three times as much as I needed so I put the leftover in a container to store in the freezer for another time. I’ve left the recipe as is so keep that in mind. I’m hoping to modify these at some point to make them a little healthier—using less butter and maybe whole wheat flour. Until then, think of these as a treat and if you’re serving them for breakfast or brunch, pair them with a good protein and variety of fresh fruits. With a subtle peach flavor, we all loved these and they freeze well too.

I hope you enjoy them too!

Peach Pecan Muffins

Ingredients

  • PECAN STREUSEL
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • MUFFINS
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup frozen sliced peaches, thawed and diced
  • 12 paper baking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Instructions

  1. 1. Prepare Streusel: Stir together pecans and next 4 ingredients until crumbly.
  2. 2. Prepare Muffins: Preheat oven to 400º. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Stir together butter, milk, and egg; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Gently stir in peaches.
  3. 3. Place paper baking cups in 1 (12-cup) muffin pan, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle with Pecan Streusel.
  4. 4. Bake at 400º for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and serve warm or at room temperature.
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All the muffin ingredients ready to go!

All ready for baking! I didn’t use much of the struesel (although it was still plenty!) so had a lot leftover.

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter P, Q or R? Please share with us in the comments below!

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter M. N or O—fruit, veggie or grain-style–this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:

Letter A or B-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C or D-Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E or F-Easy Eggplan Parmesan
Letter G or H–Ginger Garlic Broccoli
Letter I or J–Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad
Letter K or L-Kiwi Salsa
Letter M, N or O-Mango Quesadillas

Mango Poblano Pepper Quesadillas Recipe

Mango Quesadilla | Meal Planning Magic | #EatA2ZChallenge

This month’s Eating the Alphabet Challenge has three different letter options—M, N or O. So many choices! But I chose M for Mango! Now, for me this was kind of an acquired taste and the texture of a fresh mango can be a little slimy for some people (a.k.a. my kids) but over the years it has become a fruit that I enjoy very much.

So when I thought to use Mango for this month’s challenge and with the summer heat on everyone’s minds these days it seems, I was reminded of some simple quesadillas that we used to make long ago and I had kind of forgotten about until my husband recently purchased a poblano pepper (instead of the Serrano I needed for my recipe). We discovered these tasty quesadillas with the spicy sweet flavor many, many years ago at a fun restaurant in the Austin area. When we got home we tried to recreate them because we loved them so much. And you know it’s no secret that we love quesadillas around here (remember my Pizza Quesadillas from last month?) I sometimes like to add purple onion to mine if I have some on hand.

With just four simple ingredients these are a snap to whip up. You can pan grill or real grill them and in just a few minutes you have a tasty treat that is great as a side or snack. I actually made these on our panini maker but it’s so easy to use! The whole family loves these quesadillas and I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Mango Poblano Quesadillas Recipe {Eating the Alphabet Series} #eatingatozchallenge

Yield: 4 quesadillas

Serving Size: 1 quesdilla

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup purple onion, diced (optional)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas (you can try whole wheat but the flour ones just seem to taste better to us)

Instructions

  1. On one tortillas, spread 1 oz. cream cheese and top with ¼ mangoes and peppers and onions if using. Top with another tortilla and grill for about 5 minutes, flipping about halfway through. Remove from grill and slice into quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve warm.
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Just four simple ingredients to a delicious quesadilla!

Spread the cream cheese on one tortilla.

These are easy to make assembly-line fashion so all you do is put them on the grill all at once.

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter M, N or O? Please share with us in the comments below!

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter M. N or O—fruit, veggie or grain-style–this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:

Letter A or B-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C or D-Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E or F-Easy Eggplan Parmesan
Letter G or H–Ginger Garlic Broccoli
Letter I or J–Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad
Letter K or L-Kiwi Salsa



Fruity Kiwi Salsa

Kiwi Salsa | Meal Planning Magic | #EatingA2ZChallenge

Ok, so as you’ll see this fruit salsa recipe has a lot more than just kiwi in it but since this IS the Eating the Alphabet Challenge, I had to feature it in the title since this month’s challenge is for the letters K & L. But as you’ll see, it takes advantage of many different fruits including one of our summer favorites like kiwi.

Kiwis are one fruit my whole family has loved for as long as I can remember. It’s packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants and has more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange! We love to eat them plain—just peeled and sliced. Or chopped on top of a granola yogurt parfait. So for this month’s theme, it only seemed natural that we chose kiwi.

When choosing a kiwi it should be soft and yield to gentle pressure but a mushy kiwi is overripe. It can be left to ripen on the kitchen counter but once it’s ripe, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Kiwis from New Zealand are available in the spring and summer months while kiwis from California are available the remaining months of the year, making this fruit available in most grocery stores year round.
While we love fresh fruit in just about any form, I have discovered that my family gobbles up a whole lot more of the fruit rainbow when I have it combined in a fruity salad or salsa. My family had a discussion about the different and I decided it was really just a matter of how small you chop the fruit and how you serve it—with a fork, spoon or edible vehicle like a baked tortilla chip. I think this would even be delicious as healthy vanilla ice cream topping.

This was SO easy to put together—I just chopped up the fruits in less than ten minutes before lunchtime. Then I added the lemon juice and cinnamon to jazz it up a bit. Here’s the recipe so you can try it too!

Fruity Kiwi Salsa {Eating the Alphabet Series} #eatingatozchallenge

Ingredients

  • 2 Kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 2 bananas, peeled and diced
  • 1 peach, peeled and diced
  • 1 Gala apple, peeled and diced (although I don’t mind the peels so usually skip the peeling step)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all fruits. Add lemon juice and cinnamon and stir to combine. Ready to serve!
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Aren’t all the colors just gorgeous? Talk about eating a rainbow!

Everything’s chopped and cinnamon & lemon juice is added–just ready to stir and serve!

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter K or L? Please share with us in the comments below!

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter K & L—fruit, veggie or grain-style–this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:

Letter A or B-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C or D-Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E or F-Easy Eggplan Parmesan
Letter G or H–Ginger Garlic Broccoli
Letter I or J–Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad

Jicama, Avocado, Crab & Rice Salad

Jicama, Avocado & Crab Salad | Meal Planning Magic | #EatA2ZChallenge

I’ve known since I started the Eating the Alphabet Challenge back in January exactly what I was going to choose for the letters I or J! It’s an ingredient that has intrigued me for a long time, yet I’ve been unsuccessful in actually trying it (note to self: it does not store well on the kitchen counter nor does it like to be abandoned altogether in the back of the fridge—it will get wrinkly and weird).

The vegetable I’m talking about is Jicama (pronounced HEE-ka-mah)! No input from the family this time, I was going to try it no matter what. So I went in search of a recipe that used jicama and most websites I found mentioned eating it just like a carrot stick—on it’s own or with a dip. When I went to the store, they only had giant jicamas so I bought the smallest one I could find. This underground tuber originated Mexico and South America (two different varieties). They are generally available year round in most major supermarkets. It’s a very low calorie root vegetable but loaded with lots of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants and is high in Vitamin C (providing 34% of daily recommendations per 100 g!)

I used some of it in the recipe I’m featuring here today but I also peeled and sliced up the rest of it into sticks, put in a container and filled with water to keep in the refrigerator. The reviews from my family were mixed: my son described it as the texture of a pear with the taste of an onion (?!?). My daughter, I think, really wanted to like it but was just not quite sure where to place the flavor. It is sweet but not like a fruit so I think that threw her off–her jury is still out! For me, I just couldn’t stop munching on the sticks—just plain!

I sliced up the extra into sticks, put into a container and added a little water to keep it fresh and ready for quick and easy muching!

Wondering what Eating the Alphabet Challenge is all about. The idea is that each month I and other bloggers choose a fruit, vegetable or legume/grain to cook with that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. Each month is a different set of letters and this month it was I or J. If you’re a blogger and want to join us in future months, click here to fill out the form so I can send you the details!

Now on to the recipe—this one includes a lot of ingredients that we already love so that’s what appealed to me. And it was a snap to put together so even better! My whole family loved it and we decided minus the cucumber and subbing the jicama, it is like a Califrnia roll without the roll! Next time I’m going to try it with brown rice instead.

This recipe is originally from Star Chefs (adapted from Lynn Fredericks)

Jicama, Avocado, Crab and Rice Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: about 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rice (Japanese sushi rice or regular medium-grain rice)
  • 1/2 very ripe avocado
  • 4-6 artificial crab sticks
  • 8 ounces jicama (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice until the water is absorbed.
  2. Peel the avocado and chop into small pieces. Place in a medium salad bowl.
  3. Cut up each crab stick into 5-6 small pieces (I cut them smaller b/c I wanted more chunks). Add to the bowl. Peel and cut up the jicama into small matchstick shapes or tiny dice.
  4. When the rice is cooked, turn it into a bowl to cool. When just slightly warm, add the mirin and vinegar and mix. Then add rice to the bowl with crab and vegetables. Just before serving, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the salad. It's a great side dish for Asian marinated meats or as a salad on it’s own!
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Who'd think that this unassuming looking root vegetable would have a hidden sweet taste?

As usual, just a few simple ingredients is all you need! Next time I may try real lump crab instead of the imitation stuff!

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter I or J? Share in the comments below.

And be sure to check out my posts from previous months:
Letter B: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Letter C: Roasted Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower
Letter E: Easy Eggplant Parmesan
Letter G: Ginger Garlic Broccoli

Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatingAtoZChallenge. Click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter I & J, fruit and veggie style this month by visiting the blogs link below. I know I’m planning to try a few!

Ginger Garlic Broccoli

Some of it got a little overcooked--shh, don't tell! Just look at the prettier green florets!

Some of it got a little overcooked–shh, don’t tell! Just look at the prettier green florets!

We’ve been having so much fun with the Eating the Alphabet Challenge. If you’re new here, the idea is that each month I and other bloggers choose a fruit, vegetable or legume/grain to cook with that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. Each month is a different set of letters and this month it was G or H. It took me awhile to figure out what to choose this month. My family turned up their noses at my first choice: garbanzos. And although I do love to cook with Garlic, I wanted to branch out a bit.

Then I had my lightbulb moment! Ginger! That’s it. I make a lot of things with ginger and know my family likes it so this month’s challenge was just to try something new with ginger. We also love Asian food, like the Chicken and Cabbage Potstickers. And since there is a lot of ginger in Asian food it was a natural fit.

A quick search online and I found Garlic Ginger Broccoli (originally from Eating Well). Now Broccoli is a somewhat recent addition to my family’s plates but ever since we started growing it in our garden, it has been a welcome addition (yay!)

I served the Garlic Ginger Broccoli along with the Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Ginger Sauce (recipe to come later in a future post!) and it was a hit! Wow! My family LOVED it. And what I loved about it is that it was SO easy to prepare. Seriously, it took me longer to chop up the broccoli than it did to actually cook it. Another plus for easy! Don’t let the fish sauce scare you…it’s got just a little and adds some unique flavor along with the ginger. You can find it in the Asian aisle of most large supermarkets these days.

Gigner has been used for centuries for relief with gastrointestinal issues as well as an anti-inflmatory. And, packed with cancer-fighting photo nutrients, broccoli is also a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, not to mention fiber. I totally recommend you give it a try!

Ginger Garlic Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until the broccoli is bright green, 2 minutes. Drizzle water and fish sauce over the broccoli; reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar just before serving.
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Just a few simple ingredients is all it takes to get this whipped up!

I love to use my food chopped to mince the ginger easily.

Isn't that bright green beautiful?

So, what’s your family’s favorite fruit or vegetable that starts with the letter G or H? Share in the comments below. Bloggers, I’d love for you to join our Eating the Alphabet Challenge. Follow us on Twitter too using the hashtag #EatTheAlphabetChallenge. Just click here for details and to complete the form to sign up. And be sure to check out all these other fabulous blogger’s interpretations of the letter G & H, fruit and veggie style this month by visiting the blogs below! I know I’m planning to try a few.