bowl of apple pie walnut granola

Apple Walnut Granola

apple pie walnut granola

I don’t normally have store-bought cereal in the pantry, but one day I found a great deal on a granola cereal. Every once in while I sprinkle it on some homemade yogurt and it’s OK, but it’s about half puffed rice so it’s pretty weak. Then the other day I just had a bowl of it with milk like a bowl of cereal. Man oh man, it was so sweet. Too sweet. It hit me that granola is just one more thing that’s so much better made from scratch than bought in the box.

I came up with this recipe based on a few specific ingredients I had in the house: coconut oil, walnuts, and boiled cider syrup. It’s not too sweet, and has a tangy hint of apple. And I liked using the coconut oil, which didn’t flavor the granola like coconut at all.

Apple Walnut Granola


  • 4 c old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c roughly chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 6 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp boiled cider syrup
  • 3 tbsp honey, warmed in microwave to make it easier to stir in
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Stir to combine the oats, walnuts, salt, and apple pie spice.
  3. Pour in the coconut oil, boiled cider, honey, and vanilla. Stir well until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour onto baking sheet and bake for 10 min. Then turn the granola with a spatula, press into pan, and bake another 5-10 min.
  5. Let cool in pan. I stored mine in large mason jars, and the granola broke into fairly small pieces.

spicy black bean and rice soup

Spicy Vegan Black Bean and Rice Soup

On a whim, I cooked up some dried black beans because I wanted to try out the Lazy Cook’s Black Beans technique described on Serious Eats. I didn’t use the fresh garlic, onion, or orange, just some granulated garlic and onion powder from my spice rack. Even without the aromatics, I have to say I really loved how the beans tasted after cooking, especially with the “gravy” that’s left. They’re much more flavorful than when I soak them overnight and simmer, then drain. I was so impressed that I’d like to actually try their full recipe at some point!

I also made brown rice using my favorite technique: in the oven. I had a vague sense of wanting to make a plate of simple rice and beans, but my mind wandered from that thought. I made up a bowl of beans, rice (made with cilantro and lime), corn, cheese, and taco sauce…a makeshift Chipotle-style burrito bowl. And it was OK, but I was looking for something more interesting.

So I explored the idea of making a soup. I love to have broth-based soups around because they’re filling but not heavy. I wanted to include black beans, rice, onion, cilantro, and lime for sure. And, oh yeah, chipotle powder! I found a recipe that got me in the ballpark, then adapted it for my kitchen from there.

And my expectations were completely blown away. I think it’s the fresh lime juice that puts this soup over the top. It looks very unassuming in the bowl, but tastes incredible. I’ve been having it with a baked potato on the side, but it would be really good with corn bread.

spicy black bean and rice soup

Spicy Vegan Black Bean and Rice Soup

Inspired by Slow Cooker Vegetarian Black Bean and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro


  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 c water
  • 1-2 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, lightly pureed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 10 oz cooked black beans (or a bit more or less is fine)
  • 1/2 c cooked brown rice
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro


  1. Mix granulated garlic, cumin, oregano, chipotle powder, and paprika in a small bowl and set aside. Make a broth by heating the water a couple of minutes in the microwave, then stirring in the vegetable base until it dissolves. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, saute the onion in oil over medium heat until softened. Stir in the spice mixture.
  3. Stir in broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 15 min.
  4. Add cooked rice, simmer 10 min.
  5. Stir in lime juice and cilantro, and simmer 5 min.

The soup is delicious as is, but is also good with some shredded cheese on top.

Bean and Cabbage Stew

Good cabbage prices means it was my go-to green veggie recently. Most of what I bought went into Asian-style dishes. But with a remaining half sitting in the produce bin, I wanted to make a veggie-packed stew with it as a change of pace. Having a hearty vegetarian stew in the freezer is awesome for those days when I haven’t gotten enough veggies with my meals. It’s an easy way to get a bunch at once.

I pulled together this stew, inspired by another one I love, and paired it with a piece of toasted Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread spread with butter. Simple, and delicious!

Bean and Cabbage Stew

Makes 6-8 bowls


  • 1/2 cabbage, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 c leftover red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
  • 14.5 oz can tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 c vegetable broth OR 2 c water, heated to boiling + 2 tsp vegetable bouillon base (I used Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • caraway seeds


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute carrots and onion for about 15 minutes, until they’re softened.
  2. In a separate chef’s or frying pan, saute cabbage in canola oil over medium-high heat. Stir often to prevent sticking, but letting it get browned helps develop good flavor. Add a splash of water if needed.
  3. Once the carrots and onions are ready, add wine and reduce until thick. Add garlic, paprika, thyme, freshly ground pepper and salt (to taste). Stir in tomatoes, broth, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in cabbage and heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
  5. Sprinkle in caraway seeds if desired.

Delicious stir fried cabbage

St. Patrick’s day brought great sale prices on green cabbage, so I’ve had a couple to use for new things this month.

One new thing was a stir fried cabbage that I absolutely loved, and was able to use both as a regular side dish and as an ingredient in my customized version of Dragon Noodles. My husband found this recipe too sweet for his taste, but I couldn’t get enough.

Stir Fried Cabbage

This makes a small batch, enough for 2-3 sides.


  • 1/4 of a small cabbage, chopped into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 2 tsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder


  1. Mix granulated garlic, Sriracha, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and water in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in saute pan over high heat, until it’s hot and shimmery.
  3. Add cabbage and soy sauce mixture, and stir fry for a couple of minutes, until the cabbage softens.
  4. Stir in the rice vinegar and onion powder, and continue cooking over high heat until the cabbage browns and caramelizes in some spots, then remove from heat and serve.

Italian Vegetable Casserole with Beans and Rice

Italian Veggie Casserole with Beans and Rice

I’ve been in a casserole mood of late. It’s so nice to prepare something once and then enjoy it for several days (especially when I’m keeping busy making things for my shop). There’s a great basic mix and match casserole formula in The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever, by Beatrice Ojakangas, that provides guidance with lots of flexibility. I used her formula before with my Whole Wheat Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Italian Vegetable Casserole with Beans and Rice

My take on Beatrice’s formula wasn’t originally going to have an Italian theme, since it was starting with rice and beans. But after choosing my veggies, sauce, and topping it started to look like a natural fit. All that was needed for seasoning was some oregano.

Everything came together so well, and I love how it turned out. This casserole is hearty and delicious, and leftovers reheat great.

Italian Vegetable Casserole with Beans and Rice

Italian Veggie Casserole with Beans and Rice

Makes a generous 3-qt casserole (mine filled all the way to the brim of my dish)


  • 1 c brown rice
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided into 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp + 1 1/2 tsp
  • 12 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 c cooked navy beans
  • 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan


  1. Cook brown rice according to directions, adding 1 tbsp of butter to the boiling water.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil in a pan over medium heat and add onion slices. Cook over medium low heat until they start to brown (or you can take them all the way to caramelized). Set aside.
  3. Now that the brown rice and onions are started, it’s a good time to preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a generous-3-qt casserole dish.
  4. Saute mushrooms in 1 1/2 tsp butter and 1 tsp oil over medium heat until moisture cooks off. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. Boil a saucepan of enough water to come a couple of inches above the zucchini slices. Add the zucchini and simmer for a few minutes until just tender. Avoid overcooking and turning them to mush. Drain and set aside.
  6. Pulse the tomatoes (with juices) in a blender or food processor until the chunks smooth out. Then pour into a small bowl and stir in the garlic and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. In a large bowl, gently mix the beans, rice, zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. Spread into the prepared dish. Pour tomato sauce evenly over top. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top and cover.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes with cover on, then remove cover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until browned and heated through.
  9. Remove and let rest for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Easy lentil soup with carrots, celery, and tomato

Easy Lentil Soup with Carrots, Celery, and Tomato

One of my big grocery store weaknesses is the bulk section at Winco. (The other big one is cheese.) So with some impulse-buy French green lentils in my pantry, I needed to figure out what to make with…French green lentils. I also wanted to use up some diced carrot and celery, making this Easy Lentil Soup recipe sound like a great fit.

I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand and came up with a slightly revised version. Which was surprisingly hearty and full of flavor considering the simplicity of the ingredients. As soon as I finished my bowl I was already looking forward to next-day leftovers. And the lentils came out really nice — firm and pleasant, not mushy or bland.

A bowl of easy lentil soup with carrots, celery, and tomato

Easy Lentil Soup with Carrots, Celery, and Tomato

Adapted from Easy Lentil Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium celery stalk, small dice
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and small dice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic
  • fine sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth mix
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 1/4 cups French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • splash of balsamic vinegar


  1. Stir the vegetable broth mix into the water and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the celery, carrot, and dried onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the dried garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with several generous pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in the seasoned water, tomatoes with their juices, lentils, and thyme. Cover and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and continue simmering, covered, until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.
  4. Taste and season with more salt or pepper as needed, then stir in the vinegar. Purée half of the soup in a blender, then stir it back into the rest of the soup.

Maple Spiced Nut Granola with Pecans, Flax Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds

Maple Spiced Nut Granola with Pecans, Flax, and Sunflower Seeds

It’s very rare that we host overnight guests at our place, but this weekend we’ll have company for a few days. Of course this got me thinking about what the heck other people like to eat at home. This granola sounded like a crowd pleaser and a perfect item for the pantry.

Even though it’s summer, and this tastes like Fall in a bowl, that’s OK because it’s so good.

Maple Spiced Nut Granola with Pecans, Flax Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds

Maple Spiced Nut Granola with Pecans, Flax, and Sunflower Seeds

Adapted from Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe

Makes about 4 cups of granola


  • 3 c oats
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 4 tbsp flax seeds
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Measure the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.
  3. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and pat into a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  4. Cool and place in a container.

Spinach, black bean, and yam enchilada casserole

Spinach, Black Bean, and Yam Enchilada Casserole

Recently I made — and fell in love with — Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce. The sauce was so good that I made another double batch of it and added half of it to a simple dish of rice and beans, and saved the other half for…something else.

Today that something else manifested itself in the form of an enchilada casserole loaded with black beans, spinach, onion, cheese, and yam (the orange variety, often called “sweet potato” in the store). I also had some minced cooked carrot that I tossed in, but it didn’t add much to the flavor of the dish, just a few extra vitamins.

Spinach, black bean, and yam enchilada casserole
This casserole is so good I had to force myself to stop half way through eating and snap a few pics

Really, the foundation of this is the sauce and tortillas — the middle could be filled with a big variety of things. Which is one of the things I find so wonderful about casseroles.

This dish was a lot of work, but now I have many delicious meals squirreled away in the refrigerator and freezer.

Spinach, Black Bean, and Yam Enchilada Casserole

Makes 12 portions


  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 medium yam, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 tsp olive oil, separated
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 large bunch spinach, rinsed with stems removed
  • 2 c cooked black beans, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ancho chile sauce (see recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Salsa, optional

Ancho Chile Sauce

Adapted from Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 c water
  • 1 onion, 1/2- to 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Heat the ancho chiles and 2 c water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then drain the chiles, reserving 1 c of the cooking liquid.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat, then add the onion and saute for 1 min. Reduce heat to medium, and add the garlic and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth, oregano, and cumin and cook for 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  3. After thickened, pour the onion mixture into a blender and add the chiles and the 1 c of reserved liquid. Allow the lid to vent out the steam while mixing, and place a towel over the lid to prevent splatters. Blend until smooth, then stir in the lime juice. Set aside while preparing the rest of the casserole.


  1. Heat oven to 425°.
  2. Toss yam pieces with 2 tsp olive oil, chipotle powder, and brown sugar. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 15-20 min or until browned and softened.
  3. In a skillet, heat 2 tsp of oil and saute the onion for a few minutes over medium high heat, until browned and softened. Set aside.
  4. Using a thin towel, such as a flour sack towel, squeeze out the chopped mushrooms a portion at a time to reduce the water content in them. Then heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the mushrooms. Set aside.
  5. Wilt the spinach in a heated skillet. Squeeze out the water and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, stir together the black beans, roasted yam, onion, mushrooms, spinach, and garlic.
  7. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon about ⅓ cup of ancho chile sauce in the bottom, then place 6 tortillas on the bottom in a single layer, with edges overlapping so they fit in the dish. Pour the bean mixture over the tortillas and spread evenly. Top with an even layer of the cheese, then the other 6 tortillas. Pour the sauce over top and spread it out to cover all of the pieces of tortilla so they don’t dry out.
  8. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes, or until edges are darkened and it’s heated through. Serve with salsa.

Maple Walnut Granola with Cinnamon, Raisins, and Flax Seeds

Maple Walnut Granola with Cinnamon, Raisins, and Flax Seeds

It didn’t take long to devour the Honey Almond Granola with Sunflower Seeds and Flax that I made the other day. Which means it’s time for a new flavor combo!

This batch turned out much too chewy for me because the raisins got even more dehydrated in the oven. Without a moist cake or muffin batter around them for protection, they turned into really tough little guys. Next time I’d definitely leave the raisins out and simply sprinkle them on top when I’m ready to eat.

I reduced the sweetener to 2 tablespoons with this batch, but that made it slightly less sweet than I’d like.

Maple Walnut Granola with Cinnamon, Raisins, and Flax Seeds

Maple Walnut Granola with Cinnamon, Raisins, and Flax Seeds

Adapted from Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 2 c raw, whole rolled oats
  • ½ c walnuts
  • 3 tbsp flax seeds
  • ½ c raisins (leave these out of the mix if tough, chewy things bum you out like they do me)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large pinch fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Measure the ingredients into a large bowl (leaving the raisins out if desired) and mix together. I used my hands to feel that everything was thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and pat into a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  4. Cool and place in a container.

honey almond granola with sunflower seeds and flax

Honey Almond Granola with Sunflower Seeds and Flax

Lately I’ve been having a craving for cereal, but store bought cereal is on my list of things to avoid because of its processed nature. My husband was struck by a similar craving and suggested granola.


Homemade granola was the answer.

honey almond granola with sunflower seeds and flax
The baked granola, cooling in the pan

I found a super easy and healthy recipe for a basic granola formula and customized it for us. It went together very quickly and baked in just 14 minutes. Basically the hardest part is getting to the store to buy the mix-ins. Or maybe choosing which combination of mix-ins to make first.

Another plus with this formula is that it makes a small batch, so we’ll get to try different flavor combos more often.

The bulk bins at Winco are a gold mine for homemade granola, except for the dried fruit. The blueberries, cherries, and cranberries all had added sugar, so I’ll be sticking with raisins as my dried fruit mix-in for future flavors. But fresh or frozen fruits with no added sugars are an option.

This granola is GOOD. In addition to being delicious (not too sweet but definitely not bland and tasteless), the texture is wonderful. I have trouble with hard, tough, chewy textures, and store bought granola is typically one or all of these things. But this version is light and much easier to chew.

Honey Almond Granola with Sunflower Seeds and Flax

Adapted from Easy Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ c sliced almonds
  • ¼ c raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp honey (could reduce to 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 large pinch fine sea salt
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries to top (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Measure the ingredients into a large bowl (except for the blueberries) and mix together. I used my hands to feel that everything was thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and pat into a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  4. Cool and place in a container.

slice of veggie-packed breakfast casserole

Veggie-packed Breakfast Casserole

My goal with creating this recipe was to have a hearty breakfast that requires no work to prepare in the morning — just a quick reheating in the microwave and it’s ready to go. I wanted it to be an easy, healthy choice for when time is short in the morning before heading out to work.

I started drafting the recipe by listing all of the veggies that I know my husband and I both like and would be especially tasty for a morning meal. And I knew it would include eggs and cheese to tie it all together. I approached it sort of like making a quiche, except with a shredded-potato base instead of a pastry crust.

This recipe is definitely a labor of love! It took a few hours to make, primarily because of all of the prep and pre-cooking of the vegetables. And then I accidentally turned the oven off in the middle of baking it, which stretched the cooking time out considerably.

But the time and energy definitely paid off and now there are 8 big, delicious slices of this casserole (really it’s more like a vegetable torte, with well-defined layers as opposed to stirred-together casserole ingredients), making a whole week of quick and easy breakfasts.

veggie-packed breakfast casserole


Veggie-packed Breakfast Casserole

Makes one 9×12-inch dish, cut into 8 generous slices


  • 2 large Russet potatoes, left whole with skins cleaned
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbls oil
  • large pack of white mushrooms, cleaned
  • 4 tbls butter, divided
  • bunch of spinach, cleaned and stemmed
  • 6 oz cheese, shredded
  • 6 large eggs
  • milk (to fill to the 4 ½ cup line when mixed with the eggs)
  • 2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 1 to 1 ½ c bread crumbs (I used crumbs from whole wheat loaves I’d previously made)
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place the whole potatoes in a pan of water and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into them fairly easily. Drain potatoes and place in an ice bath for 15 minutes, then peel the skins off and refrigerate while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Rub 3 tbls of the butter in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  3. Heat 1 tbls of oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper and garlic and saute for a few more minutes until the peppers are slightly softened. Set aside.
  4. Pull the stems from the mushrooms. Slice the caps and wring the moisture from them using a thin towel (such as a flour sack dish towel). Finely chop the mushroom stems and wring them out as well. Saute over medium-low heat with 1 tbls of butter until cooked through and the liquid has evaporated (about 15 minutes), seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, stir together the onion and pepper mixture, the mushrooms, and the spinach. The heat from the onions and mushrooms will wilt the spinach.
  6. Shred the potatoes. Set aside.
  7. In large measuring cup, add the eggs and fill up to the 4 ½ c mark with milk. Whisk together until smooth.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the olive oil.
  9. Assemble casserole: distribute the shredded potatoes in the bottom on top of the butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper; sprinkle ⅓ of the cheese over the potatoes; spread the onion/pepper/mushroom/spinach mixture over the potatoes evenly; pour the egg/milk mixture on top; sprinkle on the remaining cheese; lay the tomato slices on top; sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the tomato slices.
  10. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake an additional 15-30 minutes, or until the egg is cooked and the dish is bubbly.
  11. Let rest for a bit, then slice. If storing for eating over several days, it’s easier to get the slices into storage containers once it’s been chilled.

spicy cheese and lentil pupusas

Spicy Lentil and Cheese Pupusas

The last bag of instant corn masa flour I bought for making corn tortillas included a recipe for gorditas, which got me curious about what else could be made with the instant masa. I discovered pupusas, which are masa pockets typically stuffed with cheese and something else. After some reading and a pantry check, I came up with a recipe for spicy, cheesy, lentil pupusas.

Spicy Lentil and Cheese Pupusas

Makes 8 pupusas

To make pockets:

  • 2 c instant masa flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 c hot water, plus a bit extra available

Mix together the salt and flour, then add the water and knead into a ball. Add a bit more water if needed. Wrap with plastic and set aside for about 30 minutes while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.

To make filling:

  • 1/2 c chana dal lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed
  • 2 c water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
  • 1 small brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and diced (save some of the seeds to spice up the mix if desired)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

In a saucepan, simmer the water, garlic, lentils, salt, and chipotle pepper for about 30 minutes, until cooked.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium low heat, until soft and browned. Set aside when cooked. These will be mixed in with the lentils when they’re done cooking.

In a food processor, pulse together the cheese, jalapeño peppers, and bell peppers until a coarse paste is formed. Add as many of the jalapeño seeds as desired.

Place the cheese mixture in a small bowl, and combine the lentils and onions in a separate small bowl.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Take one portion, divide it in half, and form a ball. Flatten in a tortilla press until it’s a fat disc, but not as much as with corn tortillas. These will be thicker. Repeat with the other half. Spoon lentil mixture into one half, and then spoon on some cheese mixture. Top with other disc and press edges together. Repeat with rest of dough and fillings.

Cook in cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, then flip and cook other side. Serve hot.