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Simple Mexican Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Mexican Stuffed Baked Potato

Let’s wipe out time. Watches, they can stay. I like how they look on the wrists of both men and women. But time, that can go away. If time went away, so would 99% of my stress, and probably yours too.

Deadlines. And bedtimes. And meal times. And making time. If there’s one thing consistent in my life, it’s running out of time. If that whole concept could just be gone, then we’d all be breathing a whole lot easier. Is anyone listening to me? Does anyone have time to read this? Does anyone have time to find me a solution?

In the meantime, I’ve been fitting in a lot of simple meals like this. Who says you need bunches of minutes to make something delicious?

It’s hard to get tired of Mexican. I know people that consume tacos as least 3-4 times a week. While this is a little much for me, I can endorse the fact that the combination of avocado, salsa, and cilantro is one that rarely ever gets boring.

Wraps, I will often eat as many as four days per week. From hummus to breakfast to tacos, tortillas are the easiest way to bundle up ingredients into a delicious, portable package. However, I don’t always want to be eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is how this baked potato idea was put into action.

Wanting to avoid duplication from a prior lunch, I created a taco in potato form. It’s one of the simplest meals you can make. I leave the ingredient amounts up to you so the meal can be tailored to your own personal preferences. For me, that means heavy on the avocado.  I’d love to hear your potato toppings suggestions too.

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Asian Pasta With Tofu, Mushrooms and Broccoli

How I had all these ingredients miraculously in my kitchen before making this recipe, I don’t know. But even if you don’t, it’s worth a trip to the store to gather the power that makes these soba noodles shine.

Soba noodles are my favorite because of this chewable texture they have. With regular al dente pasta, sometimes I feel like I’m chewing for ever. Soba’s different. It’s not soft or mushy, but it’s also not jaw-aching, and it also has this great nutty flavor that goes well with Asian cuisine.

This Asian-inspired dish is packed with flavor. Between the ginger, mushrooms, cilantro and sesame oil, there’s no need to worry that the tofu will turn out bland. Feel free to get creative and add others vegetables you might have on hand, like snow peas or water chestnuts. Sadly, those were two items I did not have in my fridge at the time, but I’m sure they’d make great additions.

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Kofta Balls with Indian Tomato Sauce

Indian cuisine was far more usual in my childhood diet than Italian. Of course, this quickly changed once I hit college, but prior to my noodle years, Indian feasts on Sunday afternoons weren’t entirely uncommon. My mom had a thing for curry, rice, and nutrition, and fortunately, all could easily be combined within many vegetarian Indian dishes.

This meal right here was by far one of my favorites that she’d make. As for this sauce, huge batches were always a summer tradition.  This left a never-ending supply in the freezer to use over rice all the way through the winter. My high school boyfriend, on the other hand, was always begging me to load him up on tomatoes so that his Italian momma could make her version of sauce. I presume he had a never-ending supply to spoon over spaghetti through the winter. Regardless, the tomatoes in my garden made us both happy kids.

This sauce is incredibly flavorful for how simple it is to make. It’s the perfect topping for the kofta balls, which when cooked, obtain a perfectly crisped, golden shell to hold their soft interior. I could easily see this combination on a bun for a unique, vegetarian take on a meatball sub. Though, in my household, my mom will never stray from her beloved brown rice. Go for brown basmati if you can. Its nuttiness completes the meal.

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White Beans with Eggplant and Roasted Pepper Pesto

Potato salad? Check. Deviled eggs? Check. Salad? Check.Veggie dogs/hot dogs? Check. Hummus? Check. Brownies? Check. Every other item of food needed for a picnic? Check.

In a family full of cooks, the basics are nearly always covered when it comes to throwing a party with the Dickinson crew. “Why don’t you just relax and not make anything this time,” my mom tells me. It’s the same thing she told me on Labor Day. And on Memorial Day. And probably the past five holidays before that.

“Because I WANT to make something.” Of all people, I’d think she’d understand this. But maybe not.

Regardless, I always end up making the experimental dish on the table that I typically give some long, made-up name no one could ever guess. More often than not, it’s also always the talk of the party. Not to be cocky, but generally the adventurous eaters are the people who enjoy talking about food, and when an innovative dish shows up on their plate, they come running with an eager bunch of questions. That leaves me to sweep in and run through the rhyme and reasoning of the ingredients. Rinse and repeat, and I end up sending a majority of the party home with a new recipe to make.

Luckily, it’s a process I can happily handle. Being told not to cook for a party on the other hand, well, that not so much.

This one came from the idea and desire of combining two of my favorite summer eats, pesto and roasted eggplant. With a lot of bell peppers on hand, I threw them into the mix too, bulking up the pesto with their flavor. If you have red bell peppers available—which sadly I did not—I presume this dish might turn out a tad prettier. Either way, top this dish off with a splash of tomatoes for a fresh finish. And be prepared to explain what other ingredients went in it.

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Smoky Maple Tempeh BLT

I don’t like bacon. Yes, shoot me now all you bacon lovers, especially those of you who are jumping on the nonsense bacon-in-my-milkshake fad. Coming from a pescetarian, the contentious statement probably doesn’t mean much, but even when I ate meat, I hated bacon. I found it to be overpowering and always oppressive to all the other ingredients it sat next to in a dish. But hey, that’s just me. At this point, I’m used to all the “Are you an alien?” looks I get when the I hate bacon concept is brought up.

There is one kind of bacon though that I must say I absolutely love—make it a Tempeh variety, and I’m sold. Sliced and baked, this is one of the easiest ways to infuse flavor into tempeh. It’s the kind of flavor that can really perk up something like a sandwich but is multidimensional to avoid coming off as overpowering.

I chose to go with a smoky maple combination for this version of tempeh bacon. I once had a friend say that the key to every breakfast is having everything taste like maple syrup and bacon, no matter what’s on the plate. I guess you could say this is my version of that.

While I wouldn’t want this topping my ice cream, the bacon does make a killer sandwich. The smokiness here is the perfect compliment to the tomatoes layering the bread on this one, and the hints of maple go well with the kick of arugula I’ve swapped for lettuce. I may be crazy for not enjoying traditional bacon, but you’d be crazy not to love this vegetarian version of a BLT.

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