There is nothing better than making a big dish of loaded nachos and sitting down in front of the TV to watch a good movie. These homemade nachos are made with homemade refried beans and a bunch of fresh, colorful ingredients. The combination of the cool tomatoes and avocado on top of the cheesy, bean and corn layered tortilla chips will definitely put a smile on your face.
I absolutely love making homemade Mexican food. I do admit that many of my dishes are Americanized Mexican recipes. Nachos are known as a Tex-Mex dish but in fact were invented in Piedras Negras, Mexico in 1943 by restaurateur Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya specifically for Americans. A group of military wives had come into his restaurant and Nacho had to quickly prepare a snack for them so he fried some tortillas and put cheese and jalapeño peppers on top. The dish was a big hit and became very popular. There are now endless varieties of nachos and really anything goes.
What else can I put in my nachos?
There are many items you can add to this nacho recipe:
Buy a rotisserie chicken and pull the meat apart and add it in between the layers of cheese and beans
Brown ground beef in a pan and add a touch of cumin and chili pepper before adding to nachos
Zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, kale would also all be delicious
A hearty soup is so perfect to prepare in the Fall and Winter months. This Tuscan White Bean soup has kale added to it so it is delicious and super healthy and packed with vitamins. I know that often when you think about making soup you imagine hours at the stove but this soup is very easy to prepare and can be ready in one hour. I use canned Cannellini beans so that I do not need to soak the beans for hours before starting to make the soup. I also use frozen chopped organic kale that I always keep in my freezer. You can absolutely use dry beans and soak them as directed and you can use fresh kale if you prefer. I wanted to simplify the recipe so that you had most of the ingredients already in your kitchen ready to go when you decide to make soup. In the Winter months I like to keep some vegetables like spinach and kale in my freezer so I always have the ability to throw together a soup, pasta or omelette if I get hungry and don’t feel like going out in the cold. You can buy packaged vegetables or buy fresh and freeze your own. Every Fall I buy ears of fresh corn at the farmer’s market and cut the kernels off and freeze small pre-portioned bags. The corn can be used all winter long and is perfect for sautéing with butter or adding to stews, pasta or salads.
I use chicken broth in this recipe and prosciutto but you can leave out the prosciutto and use vegetable broth if you would like to keep the soup vegetarian and vegan. The key to making the soup creamy and delicious is to puree one can of beans with 2 cups of the broth before adding the rest of the beans. So one can is pureed with some of the simmering broth and put back into the soup and then the other can of beans is drained and added whole to the soup. The result is a heartier soup with an ample amount of whole Cannellini beans. Please be careful during this step because broth will be hot.
After you add the beans it is time to add the kale. The soup is almost done at this point so you should taste it to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
Can I Make This Soup Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can keep this soup for 5 days in your refrigerator. You can also freeze the soup if you want it to last longer. I do not like keeping soup frozen for more than 2 months so remember to write the date on the container before putting it in the freezer. This is a good habit anytime you put leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator.
What Should I Serve The Tuscan White Bean Soup With?
Serve this soup with a good amount of fresh grated Parmigiana Reggiano on top, some crusty Italian bread, a simple salad and you have a delicious, easy meal.
with spinach, Roasted Peppers and Smoked Mozzarella
I love creating recipes that are vegetarian and taste great. There are so many plant based options around so it’s really a lot of fun to combine them. This recipe does use mozzarella so it is not vegan but you can definitely leave out the mozzarella and it would be still be delicious.
Can I make the mushrooms ahead of time?
Yes, you can fry the mushrooms ahead of time and layer the spinach and peppers on top. Cover them with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and leave them out at room temperature. Top with sliced smoked mozzarella just before you are ready to put the mushrooms in the oven. After frying the mushrooms they will need another 10 minutes in the oven to finish cooking and to melt the smoked mozzarella.
I used large portobello mushrooms in this recipe but you can also use the smaller ones. The small portobello mushrooms will be easier to fry. You can serve this dish as an appetizer or entree, for lunch or for dinner. The mushrooms are quite meaty and are definitely filling enough as a main dish. The colors are so beautiful together which makes the dish just as pleasing to look at as to eat. I always feel that people eat with their eyes so it is so nice to serve food that looks good and tastes great. Serve the mushrooms on a platter or put them on a bun and serve as a vegetarian burger. Jenn’s View special sauce recipe would be a delicious addition on top of the mushroom burger.
Crispy Chicken Tenders with just the right amount of spice and a lot of serving options.
Adults and children alike love chicken tenders. Little strips of deep fried crunchy breading with juicy chicken inside. The trick to making extra crispy chicken tenders that won’t be dry inside is to marinate the chicken in buttermilk for an hour or two before coating in flour. The buttermilk helps to tenderize the chicken so it won’t dry out during the frying process. I like to use chicken tenders for this recipe. Typically you can find packages of chicken tenders in the supermarket. Chicken tenders are a cut of chicken that is located near the breast bone. You can also buy chicken breast and cut it into strips but if chicken tenders are available you should use them. Th extra crispy comes from dredging the marinated chicken in flour, then egg, then flour again. This two step coating process creates a thick crust on the strips that crisps up beautifully.
The seasoning is also very important in this recipe. We want a little kick to our crispy chicken tenders so I add some hot sauce to the buttermilk before marinating the chicken. The flour also needs to be seasoned which will result in a flavorful chicken tender. Bland is boring. There are many ways to serve these crispy chicken tenders. You can serve with a tangy green salad or with mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. They also make a great chicken sandwich, since they are strips try serving them in a hot dog bun topped with hot honey or chopped tomatoes, avocado and shredded lettuce with a special sauce of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, paprika, hot sauce and garlic powder. I like a potato roll because it is squishy and holds up well with the fried chicken strips. You can also just serve them plain with some honey mustard on the side. Whatever you choose I am sure you will love them.
Tomato Soup pairs so perfectly with a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought it would be a great idea to come up with a new version of this combo so I decided to float a toasted slice of Italian bread with melted mozzarella on top of the soup. I also added fresh basil to the soup which I feel is much better than dried. I do recommend using Muir Glen or San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes. I think that these brands use the best tomatoes. I always remove the tomatoes from the juice and rinse the seeds out before adding them (and the juice) to the pot. This step is not absolutely necessary but my mom always told me that it is better for your stomach to remove the seeds so that’s what I do. The addition of a carrot also creates a brighter, beautiful soup. This soup is not difficult to make and you can make it in advance and warm it up when it’s time to serve. Great for lunch or dinner. It’s starting to get cold out so I think soup definitely needs to be on the menu. Let me know what you think.
Maitake mushrooms are also known as Hen of the Wood mushrooms. I absolutely love the large floral shape of these mushrooms. It has a very earthy flavor. The word ‘Maitake’ means dancing in Japanese. It is said that the mushroom got this name because people started dancing around it when it was first discovered. This mushroom is typically found in the Fall months and it not only tastes great but is also very healthy for you. The Maitake or Hen of the Wood mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom because it is full of antioxidants, vitamin B and C, potassium and fiber. The mushroom is being tested to see its effectiveness in regulating cholesterol. A 2013 study found that the Maitake mushroom reduced cholesterol levels in mice which lead researchers to believe that there are benefits to eating these mushrooms. The mushroom is best used the same day you buy it but if you need to store it you should put it in a paper bag in the refrigerator. They are very delicate and crisp up on the edges when roasted or fried. I have tried this recipe by frying the mushroom in oil and of course it is delicious but I really wanted to keep this recipe a little healthier so I think roasting the mushroom is equally as good. Ok, maybe not equally, but definitely a close second. If you want to try frying the Maitake you will need to put it on a skewer so you can gently place it in the vegetable oil. Fry the mushroom until crispy and then sprinkle with salt and pepper after you remove it from the oil and place it on a paper towel to drain. Remove the skewer and serve with the garlic aioli. The garlic aioli adds a lot of flavor to this dish and works well with the earthy flavor of the mushroom. It’s simple to prepare and can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Making it ahead of time will give the flavors time to blend. Always use fresh lemon juice and garlic when making the aioli. I like to put the aioli on the side so people can use as much as they want.
A fresh squeeze of lemon is essential to brighten the aioli and give it a little zing. Regular lemon is fine but use Meyer if you can find it.
This Maitake mushroom recipe is super easy to prepare and pairs well with many main dishes. Serve it with seafood, chicken or meat. It makes a great side dish to serve family style or you can serve it as an appetizer before dinner.