WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

A must-make meal June 30, 2010

Filed under: Meatless,Sandwiches — WannaBe Chef @ 6:28 pm

Let me start by saying how excited I am over this dinner.  I’ve been pretty uninspired with cooking lately, and this meal definitely recharged me!  I’ve had the recipe saved from Brandi’s blog for awhile now and finally got around to making it.  People, you must make this.  If you like falafel and sweet potatoes, you will be in heaven.  Not only are they healthy and easy to make, but they’re just about the cutest little things I’ve ever seen! 

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel
Recipe found HERE on Brandi’s blog Bran Appetit


  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mash sweet potatoes with chickpeas
  3. Add seasonings and flax, mash together
  4. Spray baking sheet or line with foil (I lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray). Roll mixture into small patties and place on baking sheet (I got 28 baby patties).
  5. Brush or spray with olive oil
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes and let sit on baking sheet a few minutes before serving
  7. Serve on pitas with toppings such as tomato, lettuce, red onion, feta, tzatziki, and hot sauce!

Money shot! As you can see, I left some of the chickpeas whole 🙂

Seriously awesome, delicious, amazing, fantastic…. I was full, but this pita was so good, I probably could have had a whole second one.  I refrained but did go back for a couple of these little bites!  🙂

I cannot wait to have leftovers tomorrow, woooo!  Oh, and my little tzatziki sauce consisted of:

  • 1 container Greek yogurt
  • diced, seedless cucumber
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • drizzle of agave

Dress nightmares and purple tulle June 29, 2010

Filed under: Life,Meatless,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 7:36 pm

Hola, bloglettes!  Sorry for leaving you post-less yesterday.  I was much too mentally exhausted from trying on at least 30 dresses in hopes of finding something to wear to:  1 bachelorette party, 2 wedding rehearsals, 1 wedding, and 1 wedding shower.  Shoot me now.  I don’t see why it’s so difficult to find a couple affordable, summery, appropriate dresses for a tall girl.  Not being a “junior” anymore, but also not being 50 years old left me with few options.  Aaaanyway… good news is that after many purchases and returns, I finally have the outfit lineup set.  Now only if my skin wasn’t see-through and I had some cute shoes…. The errands continued today, and I got a lot accomplished (including groceries, finally) woooot!  That’s where the purple tulle comes in.  I’m not gonna say anymore, though, on the 0.05% chance my sister actually reads my blog.  Unlike yesterday, I did manage to snap a couple pics of my food today.

Breakfast was comprised of the few groceries I had in the house… 2 over-easy eggs and 2 pieces of toast.  I doused the eggies in Frank’s after I took the pic since the red stuff can look a little disturbing at times.

Lunch was thrown together veeery quickly once I got home… I was on the verge of hangry.  Monster salad contains:  Romaine, pea-less sugar snap pea pods, turkey, Sabra Classic hummus, Cholula (my first time having this, yum!), and a little light Ranch. 

Din din was this delicious, pre-seasoned salmon… with a pop-up timer?!  Has anyone out there ever seen a salmon fillet with a pop-up timer?!

I also whipped up these little gems…

These were beyond fantastic.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Sautee veggies and seasonings of choice – I used mushrooms, broccoli, roasted red peppers, and onions seasoned with S&P.
  2. Cut a baguette into slices on a severe angle to get the most surface area.  Line up on a baking sheet covered in foil.
  3. Spread each slice of bread with a little real mayo and minced garlic.
  4. Top with the sauteed veggies and some cheese – I used feta and mozzarella.
  5. Broil for a couple minutes until cheese browns. 

Here’s the recipe I used as my outline… I pretty much used all the same ingredients but changed up the method a little.

Mayo might sound strange (it did to me at least), but it was definitely the clutch ingredient and paired beautifully with the garlic, veggies and cheese.  These were so easy to make, and I can think of a ton of different combinations that would be equally as yummy!  


  • Are you tan?  Have you ever had a spray tan or “mystic” tan? 
  • Do you enjoy wearing dresses?
  • What’s your favorite hot sauce? 

Taking one for the team June 9, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast,Chicken,Meatless — WannaBe Chef @ 6:16 pm

Let’s talk leftovers.  I usually don’t mind eating leftovers, but only once… unless it’s something really good like pizza or cake of course.  And as “unpicky” as Wayne is, he is not a fan of leftovers at all.  Back in MI when I only lived about an hour from my mom, I used to freeze the leftover portion or two of our weekly meals and give them all to her about once a month.  She lives alone and doesn’t like to cook for just herself, so this little system worked out well.  Plus, she got to try all the creations she saw on the bloggy.  She actually coined the term “MMOWs” for the meals – Manda’s Meals on Wheels.  Cute, right?  So anyway, MMOWs have unfortunately stopped due to the 11 hour distance between us now.  This means I’m stuck with leftovers.  Ugh.  I’ve put a few meals in the freezer, but I’m afraid that once they’re in there, they don’t come back out.  So I built in a day of “freezer leftovers” into this week’s dinner plan.  Or I may have been really uninspired at coming up with something new… 

Using up leftovers actually came into play with all my meals today.  Breakfast was… do I really need to say it?  An oatmeal pancake!!  Today I added 1/2 smashed banana to the batter and sliced the other half on top.  I would have preferred strawberries, but the bananas are ripening really fast and need to be used up! 

Lunch was one of THREE huge leftover portions of Speedy Tamale Pie.  Uuughh, this was not at all what I wanted, but it had to be done.  I loaded it up with salsa and sour cream, which made it a LOT better.  Still not my ideal lunch, but it worked.  Not sure about those other two containers in the fridge, though…

Yes, I reheated it in the plastic container... I live on the edge.

Dinner was straight from the freezer.  Remember this chicken and rice from 4-10-10??  Yeah, I forgot it was even in the freezer.  Wayne was the lucky one and got the leftover enchiladas, which reheated very well.  I did not have high expectations for my chicken, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was still very moist and flavorful.  I doctored it up with more salsa and nearly a whole bag of raw sugar snap peas <– latest obsession.         

What’s your take on leftovers?  Do you take one for the team and eat them to avoid throwing food away, even if it’s not what you really want?  Or even if you didn’t really like it the first time around?


Exercise and a first from the hubby June 7, 2010

Filed under: Life,Meatless — WannaBe Chef @ 6:59 pm

Hello, my peeps!  I’m back with a semi-normal post.  Get ready for a little wordiness here.  First, I’d like to talk a little bit about working out.  If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you may have noticed that I never talk about working out.  Well, as much as I’d like to say I workout and just don’t talk about it, I can’t!  I have a love/hate relationship with exercise, and by that I mean it’s mostly hate.  I never played sports growing up and had never seen the inside of a gym until college.  Since then, I’ve gone in and out of exercise phases.  I workout consistently for a few months, usually “for” some event like spring break, a vacation or wedding, then I get bored and take a “break.”  Also, I have a definite “all or nothing” personality, which isn’t really a good thing when it comes to working out.  I feel like if I don’t workout 5-6 days a week like a crazy person, then what’s the point?  Surely taking a walk twice a week isn’t going to do anything, so why do it at all??  Yeeeeaah, I know, I know.  So, I’ve been on a “break” from any consistent exercise for quite awhile now.  With the exception of a handful of elliptical sessions and walks, I haven’t done much since just after my wedding in April ’09!!!!!!!  Aaahh, did I really just write that?  While I have put on a few pounds since my wedding, I don’t consider it a huge deal since I was at my lowest weight ever for my wedding, which lastest about 2 minutes, I’m sure.  So anyway, while I would like to lose 5-10 pounds (the same damn 5-10 pounds I’ve gained/lost a hundred times…), I’m more bothered by all the squish and flab.  Our apartment complex has a fitness center, but it’s a pretty sad little place, and the thought of doing the same old elliptical routine day after day makes me cringe.  So, last week I blew up my exercise ball, unrolled my yoga mat, and dug out my hand weights and seriously old Core Secrets dvd.  I also bought Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred dvd.  The first day I tried the Shred, I couldn’t even make it halfway through Level One.  For the next two days, I had serious issues with walking thanks to the lovely “squat presses” that I barely even did!  I quickly realized how out of shape I am.  And thanks to my years of “phoning it in at the gym,” as Jillian would say, I am definitely NOT used to strength training.  Today, I sucked it up and made it though Level One, sort of…  It definitely feels kind of good to be sore again, and I’m hoping to keep it up and eventually make it all the way through Level One without taking any breaks.  I debated on whether or not to post about this because it kind of makes me accountable…. eeekk!  ANYWAY, since this is a food blog, I should probably give you a little something to munch on… 

Speedy Tamale Pie
Based on recipe found HERE with topping taken from recipe HERE

Bean mixture:
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed/drained
1 zucchini, chopped
1 small can green chilis
1 can corn (use 1 cup here and remainder in topping)
1 cup frozen edamame
1 cup salsa
2 tsp chili powder
salt, hot sauce to taste
shredded cheddar cheese and light sour cream for topping, optional

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Splenda (or regular sugar)
1 egg white
salt, chili powder
remainder of corn from above

  • Combine bean mixture ingredients in a large saute pan and let boil/simmer for about 10 minutes
  • Pour bean mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray
  • Spread topping mixture evenly over bean mixture
  • Bake at 400 F for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges
  • Top with cheese and cook another couple minutes until melted, if desired
  • Top individual serving with sour cream and hot sauce if desired

Ok, so here’s the deal with this dinner… I’ve said before that Wayne is not picky and will eat or try just about anything I make.  Even if he doesn’t “like” it that much, he will usually still say something like “It was OK.”  Well, tonight was a first.  After he finished his whole plate, he let out a sound similar to “Eeeeuugghhh!!”  That would have been plenty to get his point across, but he continued to say that it didn’t have any flavor and that he didn’t want me to pack him a lunch tomorrow if this stuff was in it!!!!  I was shocked.  Sheeeesh!  I will admit, it may have been a little bland, but it wasn’t that bad!  If you make this, I would suggest pumping up the seasonings and maybe using just one can of pinto beans, as they overpowered the dish using two cans.  Also, I skipped the canned tomatoes because I thought the salsa was enough, but you might wanna use them for the extra moisture.  Not that I really expect you to make this after Wayne’s glowing review lol!


Wordless Weekend June 5, 2010

Filed under: Life,Meatless — WannaBe Chef @ 7:01 pm


WannaBe Vegetarian June 3, 2010

Filed under: Breakfast,Meatless,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 6:33 pm

Just another veggie filled day here in sunny ‘sota.  I could definitely be a vegetarian… about 80% of the time I’d say.  If it weren’t for my highly carnivorous husband, however, I would up that percentage to 90 or 95.  I just don’t think I could live without the occasional chicken breast or *gasp* steak.  After some experimenting, though, I have really learned to love tofu.  More on that in a little bit.  Let’s start from the beginning…  (p.s. I do NOT post everything I eat, just so you know!)

Breakfast:  1/2 cup egg whites scrambled with 1/2 ounce light chive & onion cream cheese and topped with Frank’s, slice of toast w/margarine, and strawberries.  I dunno what it is, but I just can’t stomach eggs like I used to.  I barely got these down, and there’s no way I can eat eggs without toast or some kind of bread.  We’ll be going back with the oatmeal pancake tomorrow 🙂

Lunch:  Told you I was making more cucumber salad today!  Same thing as yesterday, except I put it on top of a ginormous amount of romaine that needed to be used up.  I also doubled the dressing ingredients.  The pic does not do it justice… this salad was HUGE.  It literally took about 30 minutes to eat and my jaw was starting to get sore from chewing!

Have I ever showed you all a picture of my beloved fruit bars?  I am OBSESSED with these.  They’re from Target.  Tastes like 20 compacted fruit roll-ups.  Only 65 calories.  This is by far the best flavor, in my opinion.  I just bought 2 more boxes today. 

This one was seriously lacking on the yogurt drizzle...

Dinner:  Now, let’s talk tofu.  As I was saying, I have learned to really love it.  At first, I was not liking the spongy texture.  All the vegetarian/vegans out there will laugh, but I never knew you were supposed to press tofu before using it!!  Needless to say, this little process has greatly improved the texture, as it gets a majority of the liquid out. 

So anyway, I sliced a block of extra-firm tofu into 9 slices, sandwiched them in a clean kitchen towel, and put a bunch of heavy pans on top and let it sit for about 30 minutes or so.  Then I layed them in a shallow pan and poured a marinade of chicken broth (ha, so much for being vegetarian!), soy sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger over it.  I let it marinate all day (about 7-8 hours), flipping each slice about halfway through.  Then I cut the slices into cubes and simply cooked them in a saute pan with 1/2 tsp oil until golden brown.   

The veggies (1 zucchini, 1 summer squash, 1/2 package mushrooms, 1/3 red pepper, 3 green onions – I ate half of the pan) were cooked in 2 tsp oil in a hot saute pan.  I let the squashes cook for awhile first, then added the mushrooms, peppers and onions.  The key is to make sure the oil gets hot first and cook everything at a high temp, otherwise it steams and never browns.  I also added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a splash of the tofu marinade at the end. 

This may look like a humble little plate of veggies and tofu.  Even I was fooled at first, expecting it to be pretty mediocre.  It was SOOOO GOOD though.  The tofu is still a little bit soft when it’s heated, but when paired with the still-crisp veggies, it was amaaaze.  And of course, the marinade made all the difference!  There’s a lot leftover, too 🙂


Fruits and veggies galore June 2, 2010

Filed under: Favorites,Fruit,Meatless,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 7:42 pm

Just another day of eats for you!  Breakfast was another oatmeal pancake, so I spared you yet another pic, even though this one had strawberries on it! 

Lunch was a big veggie plate.  The cucumber salad was seriously to die for.  Everything in it was super fresh and it really, really hit the spot.  I can’t wait to make more tomorrow!  Oh, and I also had some red peppers and hummus.   

Cucumber Salad

  • 1/3 of a big seedless cucumber
  • 1 medium prefectly ripe on-the-vine tomato
  • a few slices of sweet onion
  • 1/2 ounce crumbled feta
  • good drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • drizzle of agave nectar to cut the vinegar
  • salt and pepper

A little while later, I had an unpictured Archer Farm’s fruit bar and this bowl of fruit.  Fruit quota?  Done and done.  

Nectarines, strawberries and chia seeds, oh my!

Dinner was a baked sweet potato (1 hour 15 min at 375) topped with leftover Channa Masala, sour cream and cilantro.  On the side is literally half of one of those giant bags of spinach I bought yesterday, sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, then topped with a squirt of lemon juice. 

Speaking of 2 bags of spinach, here’s a random question… do you guys know what BOGO means??  I used it a few times in my post yesterday, and someone mentioned to me that they didn’t know what it was.  It means “Buy One, Get One” if you don’t already know 🙂 

Wow, so I ate a lot of fruits and veggies today.  But that’s what happens when you have a fridge full of them and you’re the only one here to eat it all!  Alright, bloggies, gotta back to watching So You Think You Can Dance!