Oven Baked Tacos

Oven Baked Tacos

Tacos have always been a staple in my weeknight dinner recipe box. Not only are they fast to make, but there are so many ways to customize them that it’s hard to get bored. This year alone I’ve had ground beef, ground turkey, shredded chicken, pork carnitas, and even pot roast tacos— and that only covers the meat. Once you start talking toppings, you may not even be able to count all the possible combinations. I love this recipe because of the gooey melted cheese, need I say more? I love that the cheese and meat become one extra awesome component—plus the extra protein from the black beans, it’s win-win all around.

Oven Baked Tacos

ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chunky salsa
12 hard taco shells, I use the flat bottom ones
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Oven Baked Tacos

directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium, heat oil and add onion and garlic – saute for about 3-5 minutes until soft. Add beef and taco seasoning, cooking until meat is browned. Add beans and salsa, mixing to combine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes so mixture can thicken and flavors can meld.

In a large 9×13″ baking pan, line up all the taco shells. Fill each one with the beef mixture and pack down into the shell. Top each taco with shredded cheese.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until shells are crispy and cheese is melted.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings– I prefer tomatoes, guacamole, arugula and salsa!

Oven Baked Tacos

Sweet Potato Fries

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I’m pretty sure if I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my entire life it would be French Fries. But a girl can’t just commit to one type of fries for her entire life; I would need a little variation, like these sweet potato fries AND maybe a couple different dipping sauces… Regardless, these fries are easy to make and super worthwhile as a side for any sandwich or just a snack when you need to be a little bad… The salty sweet flavor leaves me begging for more, so make sure you have enough to satisfy you and your family.

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ingredients:
olive oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch long slices
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Sweet Potato Fries

directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with seasonings. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with ranch or your preferred dipping sauce.

Baby Bok Choy with Miso Dressing

Baby Bok Choy with Miso Dressing

How have I never made Bok Choy before this recipe? My former roommate used to steam a few as a side when she made Chinese dishes. Steamed bok choy sounds fresh and easy but this grilled option adds a whole new dimension to the vegetable. Paired with the miso sauce, this crispy vegetable almost melts in your mouth. You can easily pair this with any Asian inspired meat dish—personally I’ve already served it as a side with beef skewers and ginger soy pork chops. Let me know what main course you pair it with!

Baby Bok Choy with Miso Dressing

ingredients:
1/2 cup mirin
1 1/2 tbsps white miso paste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp Sriracha
2 1/2 tbsps peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsps ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 lbs. baby bok choy, halved

Baby Bok Choy with Miso Dressing

directions:
In a small bowl, whisk the mirin, miso paste, lime juice, rice vinegar, and Sriracha together until smooth and blended. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small or medium saucepan on high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 30 seconds. Whisk in the miso mixture and cook for a minute until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil. Cover with a tight lid or transfer to a heat-proof bowl and keep warm.

In a large sauté pan or stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat. Add the baby bok choy and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the stalks become tender, but not mushy. If the bok choy is overcrowded in the pan, it will take longer to cook and will steam more than sauté. Cook in 2 batches if necessary. When baby bok choy is done, arrange it on a serving plate.

Drizzle the dressing over the baby bok choy and serve.

Baby Bok Choy with Miso Dressing

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

There’s nothing more surprising that cutting a slice of cake and finding something pleasantly unexpected. I’ve seen many a cake with hidden polka dots and yummy fruit fillings, but this secret brownie layer and chocolate sauce takes the SURPRISE element to the next level. My mom’s birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving, so she always feels a little down that she has to share her day with a big fat turkey. This year to help her cope, I decided to surprise her with a birthday cake at our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Not only was the cake a surprise, but the so was that oh sooo sly brownie layer. The combination of a perfectly baked white cake, whipped cream cheese frosting and a delicious brownie make this cake a go to for any birthday or holiday celebration!

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

ingredients:
white cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup milk at room temperature
6 large egg whites at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

brownie:
1 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp Water

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

directions:
white cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch cake pans.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended.  Set aside.

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.

Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans. Bake 27 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool to room temperature.

brownie:
Heat oven to 350 degrees and use foil to line a 9-inch cake pan.

In stand mixer, combine sugars, butter and vanilla and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended.
Sift flours, cocoa and salt in medium bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture with mixer on low speed and blend until ingredients are fully combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in finely chopped chocolate by hand using a spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the chocolate sauce, place the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted.

While the brownies are still warm, place the brownie layer on a cake stand. Slowly pour the chocolate sauce on top, letting it soak into the brownie. Allow the sauce to soak in for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting.

frosting:
Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, until the frosting is light and creamy. For thicker/stiffer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup at a time. If the frosting is too stiff, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Place a white cake layer on top of the brownies and top with approximately 1/4 cup of the frosting using an offset spatula.
Add the second white cake layer and cover the cake in a layer of cream cheese frosting. Chill the cake until ready to serve.

Classic White Cake with Brownie Surprise

White Cake and Brownie Recipe from I am Baker. Cake found via Kitchen Meets Cake.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

I know it’s hard to believe, a yummy low carb alternative to your favorite chipotle burrito bowl. Yup! I’ve already introduced you to the cauliflower rice option, but prepare to have your mind blown with this tasty take on the bowl. It’s easy to incorporate your favorite chipotle elements into this dish. I went the veggie route, just because I forgot to defrost my chicken breast ahead of time, but the possibilities are endless. Toss in your leftover steak or simply grill up a chicken breast and chop it up to toss in with the flavorful veggies. The best part, you just toss the bowl afterward. Minimal clean-up is key in my book!

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

ingredients:
2 medium sized spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bell pepper or two small, cored and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced
2 ears or corn, with kernels chopped off
2 jalapenos, cored and sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

directions:
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and then use a spoon to scrap out the seeds and the darker yellow strands that the seeds are attached to.

Season the inside of each squash with salt and pepper and then place each half face down on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size. You can test to see if it’s done by scraping the inside with a fork.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling by warming one tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion for a few minutes and then add the peppers and jalapeno. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cumin and cook to desired softness. Add corn and black beans to the pan, mix to combine.

When the squash is done cooking, allow it to cool for a few minutes before handling. Turn the oven to broil and then transfer the squash to a surface where you can scrape the inside and begin stuffing.

Scrape about 3/4 of the inside out onto a dish and then layer the filling inside . Top with the spaghetti squash and press down then add another layer of filling. Sprinkle green onion on top and then finish with shredded cheese.

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl

Broil in the oven for about 5 minutes so that the cheese is melted and bubbly– yum!

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowl