Simple Black Bean Dip

Super simple, packed with flavor and good for you! Can’t beat that.  This dip makes for a great appetizer or a middle of the afternoon “geez, I need to nosh on something before dinner snack”. I’ve heard…..

dip

2 cans of black beans

2-3 cloves of garlic

Lime

Worcestershire sauce

Rice wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Crushed red pepper or jalapeno

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Chili powder

Cumin

Olive oil


  1. In a food processor, place 1 medium red onion, 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans, 2-3 smashed cloves of garlic, the zest of a lime, the juice of the lime, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar or white balsamic (trust me).
    *(Some recipes call for sweating the garlic, onion and peppers in a pan dip2before pulsing. This is also an option.)
  2. Add a liberal pinch of kosher salt, crushed red pepper or chopped jalapeno, ½ tsp of garlic powder, onion powder and chili powder and a tsp of cumin.
  3. Pulse the food processor while adding about a tbsp. of olive oil.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish or ramekin.dip4
  5. Eat with tortilla chips or raw vegetables.

 

 

 

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© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

#TT: Shrimp and Avocado Plantain Cups

As much as I love a quick and simple recipe, I generally loathe the videos that circulate on a certain social networking site. I saw a recipe similar to this and I was inspired. I changed a lot, for instance, baked cups as opposed to twice baked….something-or-others. I added a lot more flavor (and seasoning, ofc.) and upped the health-factor with more veg and some beans.

These can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer (great accompaniment for my simple black bean dip) or as a meal, just load up your plate and dive in.

 


(12 qty)

You will need: a mandolin slicer, cupcake pan and a microplane

 

3-4 large green plantains

Kosher salt

Pepper

Red onion

One large, ripe avocado

Can of black beans, rinsed

2 limes, 1 zested, 1 for garnish

½ lb to 1 lbs of deveined and peeled shrimp

Medium tomato, chopped

Olive oil

Smoked paprika

Chili powder

Cumin

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Bunch of cilantro

Seeded and chopped serrano pepper (optional)

Cooking spray

 


 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

Peel your plantains and cut in half, across.

(PLEASE BE CAREFUL, USE YOUR GUIDE, DO NOT CUT YOUR FINGER TIP OFF. IT’S NOT FUN. TRUST ME)Using your mandolin slicer on the lowest setting (thinnest), slice your plantain as many times as possible.

 

In your cupcake pan, spray with cooking spray.

Layer your plantains inside the pan, cut into pieces as needed (pictured below). Spray with cooking spray, salt and pepper.

cup

Bake 15-30 minutes, begin checking for crisp, golden brownness around 15 minutes and every couple of minutes after until ready to be pulled.

In a small bowl, add your shrimp and a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Season liberally with smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder. Sauté on med-high heat until cooked through.

Reserve 12 whole shrimp and chop up the remainder.

In a large bowl, combine your chopped red onion, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, lime zest, chopped tomato and chopped cooked shrimp. Squeeze the juice of your lime and toss gently to combine.

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After allowing your cups to cool, remove them from the pan.

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Fill your cups with your mixture and top with whole shrimp.

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The filling can be served warm or cold. If there is any leftover, toss it with some baby greens and have a quick, NOM-worthy salad.

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© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

Homemade Roti

Roti is a flat bread that originates in India. It can also be found in parts of Africa and the West Indies. It’s such a simple side but it adds to any dish, especially a flavorful curry.

The dough seems like it might be complicated to make but it’s honestly pretty easy. I have made Thai Curry Puffs before and it reminds me of the laminating process. If you take your time, you’ll definitely be able to pull this off and impress your friends and family.

 

Requiring only a few ingredients, this is something that you can easily throw together using kitchen staples.

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ to 2 cups of flour

¼  tsp baking soda

½  tsp salt

¾  cups water

Melted butter or olive oil

 

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and create a well. Pour in the water and slowly incorporate until a ball forms.rotii
  2. On a floured surface knead the ball until no longer sticky and pliable.
  3. Cover dough and let it rest for 20-30 minutes
  4. Divide dough into four balls
  5. Roll one ball out until it forms a thin circle.rotii2
  6. Brush with melted butter or olive oilrotii3
  7. Make a small slit and slowly roll (follow pictures) up the dough until it forms a “cone”rotii4rotii5rotii6
  8. Holding the cone, poke the top of the “cone” into itself; you’ll be sort of poking the dough into your hand (again, follow pictures).rotii7rotii8
  9. Do this to the remaining ballsrotii9
  10. Heat a large ungreased pan on medium heat
  11. Roll out one of the balls as thinly as you canrotii10
  12. Brush with butter and put in the hot pan, brush the other side
  13. Flip it as soon as it begins to bubblerotii11
  14. Using your spatula be sure to gently press the dough to eliminate any trapped air
  15. Flip from side to side for 1-2 minutes, you will have browned spots on the dough
  16. Remove from heat, fold up and cover with a tea cloth
  17. Repeat
  18. Best served warm

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Quick & Easy Brownies with Coffee Infused Butter

I am still learning to bake quite a few things, as such, brownies have been the last boxed treat that I had to ditch. I’d long since stopped baking cakes and such from the box, but brownies remained a staple until recently. A warm piece of Duncan Hines’ brownie is really sinful. Partially because it’s from the box and *gasp* “YOU cook from THE BOX!?” and partially because, well, chocolate.

 

They serve a purpose. A middle-of-the-night, “you know what I could go for?” purpose. Then there are other times when not only do you need a hit of chocolate, but you also need the therapy that comes with following the steps of a recipe; the browning of the butter, the measuring and the stirring.

 

Today was one of those days. I needed to eat a brownie just as badly as I needed to create a brownie. This recipe has been adapted from a very basic recipe from King Arthur flour, it’s a bit less sweet and I steeped coffee in my browning butter before adding it to the mixture. (Listen….it’s an extra step but the flavor of the brownie?? NOM!)

 

Ingredients:

10 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick +2 tbsp)

1 to 1 ¼ C white sugar

¾ C unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp of baking powder

1/8 cup of ground coffee (or espresso)

2 large eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2/3 C of AP flour

 

Cooking spray

Foil or parchment

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to cook, stirring frequently. After about 5 minutes add the coffee, again, stirring frequently. The butter will froth up but continue to stir. After about 10 minutes remove pan from the heat.brown1brown2
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, add sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Grab a small bowl and using a fine mesh strainer, pour your butter-coffee mixture. Using a spatula, gently press the coffee mixture in order to get as much of the butter out as you can. (There will be fine coffee particles, don’t worry. This is OK.)brown3brown4
  4. Pour your coffee-butter into your bowl of dry ingredients. Using a silicon spatula, or wooden spoon, stir into all of the ingredients are well-combined.brown5brownie10brown6
  5. In a larger bowl, pour your flour. Into the flour, add your cocoa mixture. Add one egg and stir until combined, then add the final egg and your vanilla extract. Beat this mixture thoroughly until it is well combined, 30-45 seconds. You should not see any flour.brown8
  6. Line your cooking dish with foil or parchment paper, grease with butter or cooking spray.brown7
  7. Add your batter and smooth the top. Using a knife or the flat side of your spatula, create some light swirls.brown9Bake for 20-25 minutes, it should pass the tooth pick test.
  8. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan.
  9. Once cooled, remove lined brownies from the pan and cut into squares.brownier15brown13
  10. Store in an airtight container.

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

#TT: Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

Second installment of the #TT series of dishes that have been previously posted elsewhere without a recipe. I made this a few weeks ago and it was a hit. So many flavors, so much cheese. Because the tortillas (1) do not require rolling and (2) are not pre-dipped in oil  you save time and we’re talking healthier. So you can enjoy more cheese.

 

15-20 corn tortillas

1 15oz can of diced or whole tomato

1 small onion

4-6 cloves of garlic

1-2 chipotle in adobo

1 cup of chicken broth, low sodium

2 scallions (white and green parts)

1 can of black beans, drained

2-3 chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs

2-3 tbsp of oil

garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and cumin

½ tsp of kosher salt and pepper

Juice and zest of half a lime

Shredded cheese

Garnish: (optional)

Cilantro

Queso fresco

Avocado

stack1.jpg

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large pot, add a tbsp of the oil and the onion. Let it sweat a bit before adding the garlic. Add in the chopped up chipotle pepper.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, as well as 1 tsp each of garlic powder, cumin and chili powder.
  4. Add tomato and chicken broth
  5. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer.
  6. In a large bowl, place your chicken and add remaining oil, seasonings (2 tsp of each) and lime. Toss until coated well.
  7. Put coated chicken in an oven-safe pan and bake until cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Internal temp should register at 165 degrees.
  8. Let the chicken rest.
  9. At this point you want to either use an immersion blender or pour your tomato base into a blender and pulse, some texture is okay.
  10. Return to the pot and bring to a boil and return to a simmer. Taste and adjust spices and salt as necessary.
  11. Chop up the chicken and the scallions
  12. Turn oven down to 375.
  13. In a large, oven safe pan, spray with cooking spraystack2.jpg
  14. Create a single layer of corn tortillas, cutting pieces to fit as needed.
  15. Ladle some of the tomato sauce
  16. Sprinkle some of the chicken, the beans and the scallions.
  17. Top with cheese. Repeat steps 13-16 until the pan is full. You should be able to get 3 layers.
  18. Final layer should be sauce and cheese. Bake until bubbling.stack03

stack

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Chewy Apricot Breakfast Bars

I still have a ton of dried fruit and I’m trying to figure out how to use it. I’ve been snacking on them straight out of the bag, I’ve made smoothies and I’ve made cinammon rolls. And I still have a bunch left. I’m not generally a fan of a huge breakfast, I like to nosh in the morning. These are very yummy and the apricot flavor comes right through. You can pick a few up and go.

 

 

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup oats

½ to 1/3 cup of sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

1 stick of unsalted butter, cold (cubed or shredded)

 

5 oz of dried apricot

½ cup of raw honey

1-2 tsp of water

*You can also use ¾ to 1 cup of apricot preserves

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt and baking soda.bars
  3. Cut in butter (using fingers or pastry blender) until the mixture looks like crumbs, you will have chunks of butter.bars2
  4. You’ll want to work quickly but if the butter starts to melt, stick the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes
  5. Press half of the mixture into your greased pan, you want a small-ish pan.
  6. In a food processor, blend apricots and honey. If the mixture is thick add the water.bars5
  7. Spread the apricot mixture then sprink with the remaining oat mix
  8. Press down gently
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Cool on baking rack and then cut into squaresbars4
  11. Store in air-tight container

 

 

 

bars6

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Spiced Honey & Banana Muffins

I love a good muffin and I’m always experimenting with different flavor profiles. Banana is a classic. In this recipe I used some of my favorite fall spices and instead of refined sugar, I opted for raw honey. This is not a super sweet muffin but if you insist, I added an alternative towards the end 😉

muff

Yields 12+ muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½  tsp nutmeg

½ tsp freshly grated ginger

½ tsp salt

2-3  very ripe bananas

½ stick unsalted butter

½  cup honey (if you want a sweeter muffin go for ¾ cup)

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tin
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder and salt
  3. In a separate bowl mash bananas and mix in the honey, egg and butter.muff1
  4. Add the vanilla and the milk until combined
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix with spatula until combined
  6. Fill muffin cups until about two-thirds fullmuff3
  7. Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, 10-12 minutesmuff4muff6

 

 

The muffins can be kept in an airtight container, leftover batter can be frozen and used at a later date.

 

For a little indulgence:

Mix ½ cup of confectioners sugar with a few tsp of milk until smooth and dip the muffin tops in!

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Veggie-Packed Spicy Sausage Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna is one of those meals that you whip up and you know you won’t have to worry about dinner for a couple of nights. It’s also one of those meals that allow you to load up on veggies! If you punch up the flavor, even the most anti-veg person will devour a serving or few.

 

Yields 15 lasagna rolls

 

Ingredients:

Box of lasagna noodles

5 Spicy Italian sausage

small yellow onion

half of a green bell pepper

1 large zucchini

3 large carrots

1 pack of frozen chopped spinach

pint of reduced fat ricotta

4 cloves of garlic

Garlic powder

Italian seasoning

Kosher salt

Crushed pepper

Your favorite tomato sauce

Your preferred shredded cheese

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  3. Boil the lasagna noodles.
  4. Using a mandolin slicer, create zucchini ribbons and carrot ribbonsrolls2
  5. Defrost spinach
  6. Brown your sausage or other ground meat (this could be a omitted for a completely vegetarian recipe)rolls1
  7. Add chopped garlic, onion and pepper, cook until just softened, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Drain your noodles, should be al denterolls3
  9. Remove the meat and veg from the pan and drain in a strainer or a paper towel
  10. Drain spinach, season with salt, pepper and about 1 tsp garlic powder.
  11. Season ricotta with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt and a pinch of crushed pepper, mix to combine
  12. Take one noodle and “paint” ricotta mixture using a spoon or a spatula
  13. Lay carrot ribbons, sprinkle spinach, sprinkle meat mixture and top with cheeserolls4
  14. Tightly roll the noodles uprolls5-copy
  15. Nestle a zucchini ribbon overtop, repeat until your pan is full. My pan was 13×9 and that fit 15 rolls. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt over your ribbon-wrapped rolls. rolls6
  16. Top with your favorite tomato sauce (I used 2 parts canned diced tomato and 1 part canned crushed tomato that I seasoned it up using my go-to’s: kosher salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, Italian seasoning, pinch of sugar and a dash of fish sauce).
  17. Generously top with your preferred shredded cheeserolls8
  18. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes then uncovered until bubbling and the edges start to brown.

rolls9

rolls11

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Red Velvet Waffles

We received our first recipe donation! We created a poll on Twitter and you all wanted a breakfast/brunch recipe. Mason loves The Red Waffles and we make these pretty often. It’s definitely a decadent go-to!

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Yields 6

 

Waffles:

2 eggs

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 ¾ cups of buttermilk

½ cup of vegetable oil

¼ cup of sugar

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp of salt

2 tsp of vanilla extract

½ tsp distilled white vinegar

2 tbsp red food coloring

1 tbsp cocoa powder

 

Glaze:

1-2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

¼ – ½ cup of milk

(3-6 oz of cream cheese, optional)

 

For the glaze:

  1. Whisk together ingredients until smooth

 

For the waffles:

Preheat the waffle iron

 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder together.waffle
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla and vinegar together.
  3. Carefully stir in the red food coloring. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients, mix until smooth.

waffle2waffle3waffle4

  1. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray.

 

  1. Using a ladle, carefully pour the mixture onto the iron, do not over fill.

 

  1. Close the iron and cook until the waffle is a deep red and crisp on the outside.

 

  1. Serve each waffle with the glaze.

waffle5waffle7waffle6-copy

NOM!

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Fig Cinnamon Rolls

I’m unlearning the knee-jerk reaction to exclaim, “I’m not a baker!”. Cooking came easy to me. Baking remained this elusive, scary beast. Exact measurements, chemical reactions, the infamous “don’t run in the house or the cake will fall!”

I started baking with simple recipes and I quickly realized baking is only as complicated as you make it. This will be my first time making cinnamon rolls but I am excited to try it out with you guys.

 

I received this awesome shipment of sun-sweetened fruits. First of all, when I think of dried fruit I think of raisins and apricots that stick in your teeth-crevices. I think of prunes that stick to everything before they even reach your mouth and are nearly impossible to cut.

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Fruit Bliss has reinvented dried fruit. They claim this and upon opening the package and taking a bite of the first piece, I’m inclined to agree. There is no sugar added, no extra ingredients (something I look for when I’m trying to be all healthy and stuff). Just water and organic fruit. So, naturally I’m adding this healthy fruit to a dessert. Healthier, –ier.

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Each piece of fruit is soft and moist, not overly sweet and the natural flavor of the fruit really shines through. I decided to go with a recipe that allows the fig to be the star with spices that are known to elevate their flavor.

 

Yields: 12

For the dough:

1 package of active dry yeast

¼ cup warm (to the touch) water

¼ cup plus 1 tsp of granulated sugar

½ cup of milk

2 tbsp of packed light brown sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 egg + 1 yolk

2 ¾ cup of all purpose flour (extra for kneading)

½ tsp of salt

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

 

For the filling:

5 oz of dried figs

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ brown sugar

(Hack: This is basically a Fig Butter. If you don’t want to do this from scratch, feel free to sub with ¾ cup of store bought. I hear that Trader Joe’s has a yummy one.)

 

For the glaze:

1 cup of powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk

 

(*Note: This recipe can be made the night before. If so, after step 11 cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and simply bring to room temperature, preheat the oven to 375 and bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.)

 

  1. Attach your dough hook to your stand mixer and in the bowl combine the yeast and ½ teaspoon of the sugar and the warm water. Stir to combine and let rest for about 10 minutes or until the yeast begins to froth up
  2. Add the rest of the white sugar, and the remaining ingredients up to and including the eggs, and mix to combine. Add the flour and salt, knead for 1-2 minutes on med-high.
  3. Add the butter to the bowl and continue kneading for about another 5 minutes. Put the dough onto a floured surface and begin to incorporate flour while you knead. Your dough should go from wet and sticky to smooth. No more stickiness.fruit-bliss-3fruit-bliss-4
  4. In a large bowl spray with cooking spray, place your dough inside. Spray some plastic wrap and cover. Let it rest in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.fruit-bliss-5fruit-bliss-6
  5. In a food processor add the ingredients for (excluding the brown sugar) the filling and pulse until just combined. It should be a course mixture.fruit-bliss-7
  6. After the dough has risen, again place it onto a floured surface and knead it gently about five times.
  7. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a rectangle that measures roughly 10×20 inches.
  8. Spread the filling onto the dough and leave a 1-inch border then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on top.buns1
  9. Beginning on one (long) side of the rectangle, roll slowly and tightly. Be sure to pinch the sides as you go in order to seal the roll.buns3
  10. Cut the cylinder in half. Cut the halves into quarters. You should be able to cut 3 rolls per quarter. These grow to be decently sized rolls. buns4
  11. Place the cylinders into your greased pan (I used my cast iron skillet).buns5buns6
  12. Allow prepared rolls to rest for 1-2 hours covered in a warm place, they will become puffybuns8-copy
  13. Towards the end of this final rest, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.buns12
  15. While rolls bake, in a large bowl add the glaze ingredients. Quickly and steadily whisk the ingredients together until it comes together. The mixture will be smooth.
  16. Pour the glaze over the warm rolls and serve.

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Disclosure: This is not a paid recipe or a sponsored post.

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved