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Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

I haven’t made a tomato salsa in a long time.  My last attempt was a lot of chopping which was very time consuming and not worth all the time put into it.  This one on the other hand had a great unique flavor and is easy blending.  Jim gave it a top 5% when compared to store bought salsas:)  I’ll take that.

Note, I hardly used any water and it thickens up pretty nicely in the refrigerator.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Chill Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min
Yield: ~2 cups, 8 servings
Taste: Good unique salsa


1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 to 4 jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded for milder salsa, coarsely chopped (I used 2 jalepenos and 2 ancho)
1/4 cup chopped onion, soaked for 5 min in cold water, drained and rinsed
1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste ~1/2 tsp
1/4 cup water, as needed (I used hardly any)


  1. Place tomatillos in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through until softened and olive green.  Remove from heat and transfer to blender.
  2. In blender, add chiles, onion, cilantro, and 1/4 cup water.  Blend to a coarse puree.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and thing with water as desired.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 min before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Source: NYT Cooking


Avocado Creama

I finally found a great sauce topping for fish tacos, enchiladas, or really any Mexican dish. Quick and easy as well. This would go well on my previous fish taco and cabbage slaw recipes.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 0
Total Time: 10 min
Yield: ~8
Taste: Good


1 medium avocado, dark exterior skin and pit removed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice (to taste. Used 2 initially and it was a bit zingy)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1) Mix avocado, lime juice, sour cream and salt in a bowl with a fork or add to a food processor, pulse until creamy.

Source: Fox and briar

Baked Parmesan Squash

I got this recipe from our CSA box.  It is a pretty quick way to gobble up some squash.  It is a little labor intensive with dipping each slice into the breading material, so keep that in mind if you plan on increasing the recipe.

Keeping your slices to the same size will help in baking consistency.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20-25 min
Total Time: 40-45 min
Yield: 3-4 servings
Taste: Good


2 medium size squash (yellow or zucchini) ~2 cups, thinly/evenly sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1.8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place squash in a large bowl.  Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and toss to coat
  3. In a shallow bowl mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Dip squash into mixture coating both sides.
  4. Place on baking sheet, not overlapping.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, rotating pan halfway through.

Source: Hood River Organic

Ramen Bowl

I  have had a hankering for pho lately and never really previously thought about making  a similar dish at home.  It was very easy and adaptable to adding whatever you like.

A lot recipes call for fish sauce which I have bought before, but is typically a larger volume in which I do not use for hardly anything so I wanted a recipe that avoided it.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 4-6 servings
Taste: Good


1 lb chicken, cubed
1 tbs sesame oil (olive oil works too)
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
4 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbs chili paste
1/2 cup Snap peas, roughly chopped
14 oz yakisoba or ramen noodles

Optional Toppings
2 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped
Green onions


  1. Heat a large skilled to medium heat.  Add chicken and stir frequently until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink inside ~10 minutes.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add red onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger.  Stir and cook until onions are soft and garlic fragrant ~2 minutes.
  3. Add broth, water, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste to sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add noodles (not any additional flavor packets) and snap peas to sauce pan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until noodles have softened.
  5. Once noodles are cooked combined liquid and chicken and serve with optional toppings
  6. Source: Heidi’s Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Bars

I made this one to bring to one of the cyclocross races for the season.  It was very well received!  Very moist and dense and I will definitely make it again.

I was afraid the base date layer was too loose and wouldn’t hold after I processed it so I added 4 figs (I was out of dates) to make it less crumbly.  It definitely held so maybe I would have been ok with the original recipe below.

I opted for peanut butter instead of almond butter mostly because there was already a lot of more expensive ingredients plus I wasn’t sure how my normal runny almond butter hold up in bar form so I opted for cheap Skippy peanut butter which surely held its shape.

You could play around and make a little thicker peanut butter layer and maybe a thinner ganache layer (Jim laughs and totally dismisses that second statement).

This is a gluten free and easily vegan if you use the appropriate chocolate.

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12
Taste: Great


1 1/2 cups raw or roasted almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch sea salt
1 cup packed dates (have 1/4 cup extra on hand in case base is too crumbly)

1 cup creamy or crunchy almond butter (or sub other nut or seed butter)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt

GANACHE (vegan version)
1 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate (very finely chopped // 9 ounces yields ~1 1/4 cup)
7 Tbsp light coconut milk
1 Tbsp coconut oil
(non-vegan version)
1 1/4 cup regular dark chocolate
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter


  1. Prepare crust by adding nuts, cocoa powder, and sea salt to a food processor and blending into a meal. Remove from bowl and set aside
  2. Add dates to the food processor and mix/pulse until small bits remain or a ball forms. Break up the dates with a spoon so they’re not all in one clump. Then add the nut-cocoa mixture back in and blend to combine until a loose dough is formed.  If ball doesn’t hold when it is clumped together add a few more dates.
  3. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined 8×8-inch baking dish (adjust number/size of pan if altering batch size) and spread with fingers to evenly distribute. Then top with parchment paper or plastic wrap and use a flat-bottomed object – such as a drinking glass or measuring cup – to press and pack the crust into a solid, even layer. Remove parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Add nut butter to a small mixing bowl along with maple syrup and sea salt. Stir to combine. (Depending on the brand, if it is extremely runny you may need to add a little almond meal to thicken until spreadable)
  5. Add the nut butter mixture to the crust in spoonfuls. Then top with parchment paper again and use the same object from earlier to spread and pack the mixture down into a flat, uniform layer. Remove parchment paper and set in freezer to chill.
  6. Add finely chopped dark chocolate to a medium mixing bowl. Add coconut milk (or regular milk) and coconut oil (or butter) to a saucepan on the stovetop and heat until starts to boil  Pour the hot liquid directly over the chocolate, stir to combine, and cover with something (such as plastic wrap) to encourage it to melt.
  7. Let set for 5 minutes. Then whisk to combine. The mixture should be entirely melted and smooth. If not, heat in the microwave in 20-30 second increments until entirely smooth and no chunks remain.
  8. Remove 8×8-inch pan from the freezer and pour the ganache on top. Spread with a spoon until smooth. Then add back to the freezer to set for 5-10 minutes, or until semi-firm to the touch (enough to slice).
  9. Slice into desired number of bars: 9-12 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) or even smaller so they’re “bites” rather than “bars.” Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Source: Minimalist Baker 

Sweet Potato Pancakes


I had some left over cooked sweet potatoes from the Farro Burgers so one morning I thought I should be able to easily get some sort of pancake out of it.  Turns out it is super easy and pretty much only requires the addition of eggs.  Plus other options if you like.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 1 – 2 servings (4 small pancakes)
Taste: Good


1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium-small cooked sweet potato)
2 eggs
oil, butter, or cooking spray for pan

3/4 teas ground cinnamon
pinch salt


  1.  Whisk together cooked sweet potato and eggs until well combined.  Add any seasonings and stir.
  2. Heat oil (can use coconut oil), butter or cooking spray over medium low heat on a flat pan
  3. Spoon the sweet potato mixture on the heated pan approximately just under 1/4 cup
  4. Once bubbles start forming on the top side of the pancake and underside gets lightly golden brown, ~5 minutes, flip the cake.  Continue cooking on other side for an additional 5 minutes until cooked through.
  5. Optional toppings: butter, nut butter, maple syrup.

Source: 2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Cakes

Chicken Enchiladas

When I think of enchiladas, I think of a rather time consuming adventure.  This recipe is relatively quick and easy with some cheater bypasses along the way such as buying pre-cooked, shredded chicken.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 40 min
Yield: 8 enchiladas
Taste: Good!


1/2 lb pre-cooked shredded chicken
3/4 cup can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup can corn, drained
8 oz. fresh salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 roasted green chili, diced (skin, stem, seeds removed) for extra heat
1-2 tbs cup water (optional)
8 small corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 avocado, diced for topping
Fresh cilantro, sour cream, or Cotija cheese for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 2-quart dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Place chicken, black beans, corn, salsa, taco seasoning, green chili in a large sauce pan on medium heat.  Mix together and heat thoroughly.  Add water if necessary depending on watery-ness of salsa to get desired consistency.
  3. Soften the corn tortillas in the microwave, 3 at a time, for about 25 seconds. Fill them with a few tablespoons of filling, roll once, and place seam-side down in baking dish.
  4. Continue until all tortillas have been filled, rolled and placed in dish. Pack them in tightly next to each other so that they don’t come apart and cheese isn’t wasted to the dish
  5. Sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and everything is heated through.
  6. Remove from oven sprinkle with avocado pieces, fresh cilantro, and Cotija cheese crumbles.

Source: Modified from Pinch of Yum