Healthy Refried Beans

Refried Beans

1 bag (16 0z) dry pinto beans, sorted

8 cups water

1 bulb roasted garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp salt

1 can (8 0z) spicy Mexican tomato sauce

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Bring beans and water to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook, covered for two hours, adding water as needed.  Maintain water 2 inches above beans while cooking.  Once beans are soft and darker brown (between 2-3 hours) add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook covered for another 2 hours, stirring to make sure beans do not stick.  Remove cover and cook another 1/2 -1 hour or until beans resemble soupy paste.  Mash and adjust seasonings.

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Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow Cookies

4 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 (8-oz) can almond paste
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
25 drops red food coloring
25 drops green food coloring
12 oz raspberry jam
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and line bottom with wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 ends, then butter paper.

Beat whites in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks. Transfer to another bowl.

Switch to paddle attachment, then beat together almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.

Fold half of egg white mixture into almond mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter among 3 bowls. Stir red food coloring into one and green food coloring into another, leaving the third batch plain. Set white batter aside.  Pour red batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with offset spatula (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick).

Bake red layer 8 to 10 minutes, until just set. Using paper overhang, transfer layer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Clean pan, then line with parchment or wax paper and butter paper in same manner as above. Bake white layer in prepared pan until just set. As white layer bakes, bring green batter to room temperature. Transfer white layer to a rack. Prepare pan as above, then bake green layer in same manner as before. Transfer to a rack to cool.

When all layers are cool, invert green onto a parchment or wax-paper-lined large baking sheet. Discard paper from layer and spread with half of preserves. Invert white on top of green layer, discarding paper. Spread with remaining preserves. Invert red layer on top of white layer and discard wax or parchment paper.

Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large baking pan. Chill at least 8 hours.

Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature. Melt chocolate in  microwave slowly, stirring until smooth. Once melted, stir in 2 tbsp butter.  Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread half of chocolate in a thin layer on top of cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Cut lengthwise into 5 strips. Cut strips crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide cookies.

Adapted from and Smittenkitchen

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast

1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chiles

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1-2 diced chipotle chiles

1 tbsp chili powder

salt and pepper

In slow cooker, place chicken and all ingredients.  Cook for 4 hours on high and 8 hours on low.  When finished cooking, shred chicken and let cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Yield: about 30 biscotti
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

Additional chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed between additions.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half.  Shape into logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 11- by 3-inches in size, spacing at least 3 inches apart.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven while maintaining the oven temperature.  Let the logs cool for 10 minutes.  Slice the logs diagonally into slices about ½- to ¾-inch thick.  Lay the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake, turning once, until the slices are slightly crisp, about 20-30 minutes more.   Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  If desired, drizzle cooled biscotti with additional melted chocolate.  Let set before serving.

Source: Annies Eats, adapted from The Chocolate Peanut Butter Gallery, originally from The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook

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16 oz box ziti or penne pasta

1 onion, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

6 cups spaghetti sauce (1 1/2 jars)

1 bag of Italian shredded cheese (provolone, parmesan)

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 pan.  Cook pasta in salted water and drain.  Brown onion and beef.  Mix the Italian shredded cheese with mozzarella.  Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.  Place 1/2 cooked pasta in the bottom of the pan and spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce over, covering all  of the pasta.  Layer 1/3 of the cheese and then spread 1/2 of the sour cream over pasta and sauce.  Repeat with the rest of the pasta, 1/3 spaghetti sauce, 1/3 of the cheese, and the rest of the sour cream.  Finish by spreading the rest of the sauce over the noodles and sprinkling the last of the cheese.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Adapted from (Sandy’s Christmas party)

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