WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Roasted Chickpea Fajitas January 19, 2012

Filed under: Meatless,Mexican-inspired — WannaBe Chef @ 11:48 am

Oh my goodness, these fajitas were so good!  Once again, roasting comes out the winner for tastiest cooking method.  Roasting the chickpeas makes them chewy, hearty, and even a little crispy.  You won’t miss the meat at all in these fajitas.

Roasted Chickpea Fajitas

I followed the recipe loosely.  I didn’t have any cilantro because the stupid store was all out.  I also added some cheese, sour cream, hot salsa, and diced yellow tomatoes.  I didn’t really measure the seasonings either, and ended up adding some EVOO, garlic powder and pepper to the chickpeas before roasting.


Santa Fe Casserole December 12, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Rice — WannaBe Chef @ 9:23 am

Happy Monday, folks.  I’m even more sleep-deprived than when we last “spoke,” thanks to the two evil top teeth in my daughter’s mouth that, apparently, are scared to show themselves.  Well, one of them has actually cut through, but its neighboring tooth is a big ole tease.  Anywho, I made a quick and easy casserole last night.  It was good and cheesy, and I loved the chew from the brown rice with the creaminess of the kidney beans.  It was quite tasty, although the photo makes it look otherwise…

Santa Fe Casserole
Slightly modified from Healthy Tipping Point

I used one can of kidney beans instead of a half can of kidney beans + a half can of red beans.  I also didn’t add nearly as much black pepper as the recipe called for.  I sauteed the green peppers with the onions, too, instead of just stirring them into the rice mixture raw.



Stuffed November 30, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Pizza,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:51 am

I found this first “stuffed” recipe on Pinterest, of course.  Basically, it’s a pizza-stuffed mushroom.  Yes, please!

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
“Pinspired” by this recipe


  • Large button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned with damp cloth
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A few green olives, chopped
  • Turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • Pizza sauce, a couple spoonfulls


  1. Place mushroom caps, stem side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees until mushrooms start sweating and getting soft.
  2. Meanwhile, mix cheese and egg together in a bowl.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven and stuff with cheese mixture, a little pizza sauce, and toppings.
  4. Turn oven to broil and broil mushrooms until bubbly and browned.


This next “stuffed” recipe is another stuffed pepper.  I never follow a recipe for these, so this one sort of morphed into a taco-stuffed version.  These might be my favorite stuffed peppers to date.

Taco Stuffed Peppers


  • 3 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • seasonings such as garlic powder and cajun seasoning
  • 1 package Taco flavored rice
  • Salsa, about 1/2 cup
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup


  1. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 until peppers start to soften and release some moisture, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the Taco rice according to package directions, and saute the hamburger with desired seasonings.
  3. Once the rice is done, stir the hamburger and salsa in with the rice.
  4. Fill peppers with rice mixture and top with cheese.  Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

2 for 1 November 9, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Salad — WannaBe Chef @ 10:14 am

Somehow I got one dinner behind in my posts, so today I’m just going to post two in one.  First up is another tasty salad.  It’s pretty much like the “Best Salad Ever,” with a few changes.  This one had shrimp, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, buttered almonds (lots of them!), and a bottled balsamic vinaigrette which was not as good as homemade… it was too vinegary.

That brings us to last night’s dinner.  I’m going to apologize up front about the terrible pictures.  Macy was super fussy, so getting a photo at all was a small miracle.  I had leftover puff pastry from when I made chicken and apple pot pie, so I went to the puff pastry website and found a recipe for taco pockets.

After working with puff pastry twice now, I’ve decided I could take it or leave it.  The first time, it never baked all the way through.  This time, the rolling out process and the flour everywhere was just too close to being a baking experience; a little too fussy for a week night dinner.  Maybe not having a rolling pin played a part in that, too, haha.  To make it a little easier, I ended up cutting the whole sheet of pastry into four squares first, then rolling each square out individually.  Despite the fuss-factor of making these, they turned out really well.  The pastry baked all the way through this time, and the taco filling was a great pairing with the crispy, light pastry.

My attempt at trying to get a view of the filling = FAIL.

Taco Pockets

I followed the recipe exactly, except that I only made half of it… so I used just one sheet of pastry dough, and that made four large pockets.


Behind May 11, 2011

Filed under: Beef,Crockpot,Mexican-inspired,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 1:33 pm

Yeah, so I haven’t blogged in a minute or so.  I do have a few meals saved up on the camera, so I will share 😉

Another Mexican-Inspired Soup
Very loosely based on THIS RECIPE from Picky Palate

In a soup pot, saute:

  • 1 large chicken breast, diced small
  • about 6 slices lean turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • spoonful of fresh minced garlic

Stir in: 

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 15 oz. can plain diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can Tex-Mex Fire-Roasted tomatoes (or something similar)
  • 1 15 oz. can Mexi-corn
  • about 1/2 cup water or enough to make it more “soupy”

Let simmer for a little bit, covered.  Top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips or other desired toppings.

Now we move onto boring old spaghetti.  However, I decided to jazz it up with some cheese-stuffed meatballs.  Basically, I took 1 pound lean ground beef, seasoned it up with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and some bread crumbs.  Then I took 2 string cheese sticks and cut them each into 8 pieces, so I had a total of 16 cheese “nuggets.”  Then I made 16 meatballs and wrapped the meat around the cheese nuggets.  I baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes, and voila!  Cheese-stuffed meatballs. 

Crockpot Chicken with Black Beans in Cream Cheese Sauce
Recipe HERE, from CopyKat Recipes

I followed the recipe exactly.  It really does not look pretty at all once you add the cream cheese, but I promise it tastes great.  We had ours over brown rice, but I also discovered that if you shred the chicken, it makes a really good dip for tortilla chips!


Nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo May 5, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Pasta — WannaBe Chef @ 9:40 am

I don’t have anything fun to share for Cinco de Mayo.  Actually, it’s my dad’s birthday, so I never really remember that it’s “Cinco de Mayo.”  He would have been 56 today, and I’m sure he would be enjoying a tasty peanut butter or chocolate mayonnaise cake if he was still here!

Anyway, dinners have been very boring this week.  Wayne was out schmoozing business associates for dinner, so I was on my own a couple nights.  We also had our last of seven baby classes last night, so dinner was another quick one.  This was one of my bachelorette dinners.  I suppose it could be a Cinco de Mayo omelet of sorts.  It had two eggs with sauteed spinach and cheese inside, and it was topped with cilantro, salsa and avocado.  Soooo good.  

This was our quick pre-class dinner last night.  It was basically a dump-stuff-into-a-pot meal, and the picture is horrible, but it tasted really good. 

Kitchen Sink Couscous
makes 2-3 large servings


  • 3/4 cup dry whole wheat couscous
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 chicken breast, diced and cooked with desired seasonings
  • 1 box raisins
  • ~1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • ~1/2 cup TJs Chile Feta cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • honey


  1. Cook couscous according to package directions.
  2. Stir in some olive oil to loosen it up, then add the other ingredients.  I just drizzled some honey and lemon juice on top of my serving to balance out the really spicy chile feta.  I liked this dish served just warm or even at room temp. 



No lilies allowed April 30, 2011

Filed under: Beef,Chicken,Mexican-inspired — WannaBe Chef @ 6:34 pm

Hi, kids.  It’s been an eventful past couple days.  No, I didn’t go into labor or anything haha.  Remember my anniversary flowers?  Well, in case you didn’t notice, they contained stargazer lilies which happen to be toxic to cats.  We kept the flowers waaaay up high anytime we weren’t downstairs so Ziggy wouldn’t get into them.  Apparently, they started dying and a couple petals fell off onto the floor.  I’m sure you can see where this story is going.  We noticed Zig’s chin and chest were bright yellow and figured out that he ate some of the fuzzy stamen thingys and and an unknown amount of the petals.  After googling, totally freaking out, and calling the emergency animal clinic…. we had to take him in.  He was acting just fine, but the consequences were just something we couldn’t risk…. can you say kidney failure and death within just a couple days???  Uuugh, so after an overnight at the emergency clinic, a full day at the regular vet, and way too much money to even mention, he’s back home and seems to be just fine.  Not a fun experience for a hormonal pregnant woman who happens to consider her cat her first child. 


Anyway, I do have some easy dinners to share.  I planned a lot of last week’s meals around the fact that I wanted to get our freezer stash started.  Both of these meals were easy, versatile, delicious, and freezer-worthy. 

Taco Cornbread Bake
Adapted from recipe >>>HERE<<<

**Makes two 8×8″ pans 


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 packets taco seasoning (you could probably get away with just one)
  • 1/2 large jar salsa
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (however much you want!)
  • 2 boxes Jiffy cornbread muffin mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (you will need 2/3 cup according to muffin directions, but I always add a little more so it doesn’t dry out)


  • In a large skillet, saute the beef until cooked through.  Add about 1/2 cup water, the taco seasoning, beans, corn, and salsa.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 
  • While meat mixture is simmering, make the cornbread according to the box directions for muffins.
  • Spray an 8×8″ baking dish with cooking spray.  If making two batches, line another 8×8″ baking dish with foil, and spray the foil with cooking spray. 
  • Pour half the meat mixture into each dish.  Top with cheese, then carefully spread half the cornbread batter over each dish.
  • Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until cornbread is browned and set. 
  • I baked the one for the freezer (the one in foil) for just 10 minutes.  Then I let it cool to room temp and placed the whole pan in the freezer until frozen solid.  Next, I took the frozen “block” out of the dish, wrapped in another layer of foil, and placed in a freezer bag.  When I want to bake it, I can just plop it back into the same baking dish, let it thaw, and bake. 


 Chicken and Rice Burritoes

**Makes 7-8 large burritoes


  • 3 chicken breasts, thawed
  • Jarred jalapenos, 1 chicken boullion cube, garlic salt for poaching liquid (or you could cook the chicken however you wanted)
  • 1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 large jar salsa
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 7-8 large whole wheat, low-carb tortillas


  1. Place chicken in a high-sided skillet and cover with water.  Add desired seasonings.  I used jalapenos, some of the jalapeno juice, a chicken boullion cube, and garlic salt.  Cover the pan and boil the chicken until cooked through.  Remove to a cutting board and shred or chop chicken into bite size pieces.  Discard the poaching liquid. 
  2. While the chicken is cooking, make the rice according to the package directions.
  3. Dump the chopped chicken and rice back into the large skillet.  Stir in the salsa and cilantro.  Feel free to add anything else that sounds good – corn, beans, jalapenos, whatever. 
  4. Let the chicken and rice mixture heat through.  Assemble burritoes with chicken/rice mixture and cheese.  Add sour cream or other desired toppings. 
  5. If freezing the leftovers – let the chicken/rice mixture cool.  Assemble burritoes, roll, and wrap in plastic wrap then a layer of foil.  Place burritoes in a freezer bag and shove in freezer for later.  When ready to eat, wrap in paper towel and pop in the microwave.