Archive for the ‘Easy meals’ Category

sweet potato enchiladas - bonjourHan.com

They may sound odd, but these enchiladas were SO GOOD. Let me ‘splain. Here was my thought process going into this yesterday:

  • I really want to find some unique way to use the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
  • I remember seeing a recipe for turkey sweet potato enchiladas a long time ago. Mmmmm.
  • Oh… We have no tortillas, and I am not about to drag the baby to the store just for tortillas. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to wait till next Thanksgiving to make this recipe that I’ve been dying to make for the entire past year… *dramatic sigh*
  • BUT WAIT! I’ll just make tortillas from scratch!
  • Oh… we don’t have any leftover sweet potatoes.
  • BUT WAIT! We have a few uncooked sweet potatoes in the pantry! I’ll just whip up some of those too.
  • Oh… we only have a little bit of salsa left, and no fresh veggies to make more.
  • BUT WAIT! I found a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and I can toss in some spices and a little water and call it good!
  • DONE.

And with that, my dreams of having a productive day were shot. I HAD to make these enchiladas. Good thing they were delicious; yummy food masks a multitude of unfinished chores. But you didn’t hear that from me.

I can’t remember exactly how I made them, but I will do my best, even if only so I can have a recipe for when I want to recreate it sometime.


This recipe serves four. I may or may not remember everything I used, and I certainly didn’t measure, but I’ll give it a shot.

  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups salsa (I used about 1/2 cup salsa, a few Tbs water, 1/2 a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, some onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt and a tiny bit of oregano all mixed together. Please don’t be like me.)
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped or shredded (you can use chicken too)
  • 1-2 Tbs lime juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 8 small flour tortillas (I made mine using this delicious recipe from Annie’s Eats. Her recipe makes 12. These enchiladas only use 8. Elementary math may inform you that I ate the remaining 4.)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • hot red pepper flakes

I think it would be good with green chiles and pepper jack cheese too.


This version of the directions will assume you already have several of the ingredients without making every single thing from scratch. It’s actually pretty quick if you PLAN AHEAD. I’ve heard there are people like this.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Squeeze the lime juice over the turkey and toss with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Season the sweet potatoes with the cumin, chipotle powder and a little salt. Set aside.
  4. Pour salsa into the bottom of a baking dish until it just barely covers the surface.
  5. Spread 1/8 of the sweet potatoes into a line down the center of a tortilla.
  6. Spoon 1/8 of the turkey onto the sweet potatoes. Roll up the enchilada and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat steps 4-5 until all 8 of the tortillas are filled and rolled up in the dish.
  7. Pour the rest of the salsa evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the cheese over the enchiladas, and shake some red pepper flakes on top of everything.
  8. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes, or until heated and bubbling. For best results, let it rest about 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven so it can set.

We had the leftovers for dinner tonight, and it was still delicious. Please don’t discount this recipe because it sounds weird. You don’t bite into it and think, “Sweet potatoes.” All the flavors blend into a smoky, smooth bite. Let me know what you think!

Side note: I realize the pictures are ugly. I took them of the leftovers. At night.

leftover turkey enchilada - bonjourHan.com


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Cheesy grits casserole

My mom made this shortly after I had the baby, and thankfully she left the recipe! Or at least we thought she did… I couldn’t find it, so I called her to get it again, and she realized she forgot to leave me the recipe to begin with. At least having a baby didn’t make me completely lose my mind (only partially).

Speaking of having a baby, anything this cheesy and delicious HAS to help shed baby weight, right? …Right? *cricket*


It’s a pretty flexible dish, and as long as you keep some grits on hand, you can probably whip it up without ever having to buy anything. Since running to the store now involves a lot of carseat buckling and diaper bag hauling, I like to keep those random last-minute trips to a minimum.

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked grits (not instant)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or mashed with a garlic press)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Optional: onions, can of green chiles, corn, chopped sausage, chopped turkey bacon, smoky paprika, etc.
For this one, I used a can of green chiles and some chopped breakfast turkey sausage, because that’s what I found in the freezer.


Preheat the oven to 350° F.

  1. Bring the milk almost to a boil (but not quite!) and slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5-7 minutes until the grits thicken. Remove from heat.
  2. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients and spread into a greased 9×13 dish.
  3. Bake at 350° F for 40-45 minutes. You can eat it right away, but it will be a little mushy and won’t look pretty on the plate. It’s best to let it set for about 10 minutes.

It’s a really easy dish, which is great when you’re wrangling kids or, in my case, trying to cook between feedings and diaper changes and bouts of fussing (le bébé, not me… most of the time…).

Before putting it in the oven:

uncooked grits casserole

After taking it out of the oven:

cooked grits casserole

A slice of cheesy goodness:

serving of cheesy grits

And just for kicks:

Sleeping is his superpower.

sleeping baby superpower

Be still, my heart:

baby sleeping heart

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southwest chicken wrap

I made these wraps sometime last winter and just never got around to writing the blog post until I stumbled across the pictures again today.

I think there’s probably an easy-but-still-yummy way and a complicated-but-extra-special-touch way. Of course I made things more complicated by doing extra things to the chicken and letting the bowl of wrap filling sit on the counter for an hour to let the flavors mingle. (The flavors mingling thing was entirely on accident, since I forgot cheese and had to run to the store, then had to defrost the chicken in the microwave before cooking it.)

The recipe is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, but I’ll include my slightly tweaked version of the recipe here.


This is a really flexible recipe, but here’s what I used.

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (I sautéed chicken breast using the Cholula chili-lime seasoning and then shredded it.)
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (Fresh cilantro makes my heart sing.)
  • lime juice (1 lime’s worth, or a few squirts from a bottle of lime juice since I never have limes)
  • 1/2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar (or less if you’re trying to be healthy… I wasn’t.)
  • 6 large flour tortillas (burrito size)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  • homemade guacamole (optional)

You will also need a small amount of butter (or cooking spray, but butter tastes better) for lightly smearing on the seam of the burrito roll before cooking.


It’s especially quick and easy if you have the rice and chicken cooked ahead of time, but I didn’t. It’s even quicker if you don’t have to run to the store in the middle of assembling it to pick up the cheese you forgot…

  1. Mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic and salt into the rice.
  2. Add the chicken, beans, green onions, cilantro and lime juice and stir it all together.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese onto the tortillas and smear a little sour cream over the cheese, if desired.
  4. Spoon the rice mixture into a line down the center of each tortilla.
  5. Roll up the tortillas, leaving the edges open, and smoosh each wrap just a tiny bit with your hand to create flatter sides for cooking. Smear just a little butter (or cooking spray) on each of the two flat sides (one of the flat sides should include the “seam”).
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the wraps 2-3 minutes on each side, starting with the seam side down first. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

beans cilantro onions

chicken wrap filling

crispy chicken wrap

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Curried lentils with rice

Most of you know my stance on leftovers. I am not a fan. I will eat leftovers once, maybe twice, before I am totally sick of them and have to move on. Even then, I almost never eat leftovers again for dinner; I usually bring them to work for lunch.

Tonight, I had leftover curried lentils. It was a wonderful experience. I would do it again.

My mom knows what to do with a bag of lentils. They’re really cheap, super healthy and much quicker to cook than regular beans. Plus, they don’t require soaking! She fed our family of 6 many batches of lentils over the years. I asked her for her “recipe” a while back, and she laughed. (You wonder where I get my “little bit of this, little bit of that” cooking tendencies… now you know.) But because she’s my mother and she loves me, she pulled together some semblance of a recipe. It’s not much to look at, but this is just one of her delicious lentil concoctions.


My mom makes it a little different every time based on what’s in her pantry. If she had to scramble to actually come up with a “recipe,” then it’s probably ok if you have to mix and match or even omit a few ingredients.

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • minced garlic (fresh, dried, whatever. I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic and mashed them through my garlic press.)
  • 2 tsp (or 1-2 Tbs, which is closer to what I normally do) curry powder, divided (or a mixture of cumin, chili, coriander, turmeric and paprika. But it’s way easier to just keep a container of “curry powder” on hand. By the way, my mom’s recipe says “some curry powder.” I didn’t measure when I made it last night. I had to really stretch to come up with an actual number. I DID THIS FOR YOU.)
  • bag of lentils (sorted and rinsed)
  • a few potatoes chopped into chunks (red or Yukon Gold are my favorite. Or you could be like me and notice you have no potatoes and just toss in a few handfuls of frozen hash browns instead.)
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base, or 1 cube of that dried chicken stock stuff
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • a few shakes of pepper
  • enough water to cover everything by an inch
  • 2 handfuls of raisins (golden raisins are best, but regular raisins are fine too)

One thing I love about this recipe is that all the ingredients are items that most people typically have on hand already. Which is why I made it last night after coming home from vacation to a fridge with no milk, no eggs, no fresh veggies…


This is actually pretty quick and incredibly easy!

  1. Sauté the olive oil, onion, garlic and about 1/2 tsp of the curry seasonings in a large pot until tender and fragrant (a few minutes).
  2. Add everything else except the raisins and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer about 30-50 minutes (or until lentils and potatoes are tender). Stir occasionally and check to make sure there is enough water. Just taste the lentils every now and then after the 30-minute mark to see if they are mushy yet.
  3. Toss in the raisins once the lentils are tender and cook 5 more minutesto soften the raisins. Add more seasoning if needed.

It’s great by itself, but it’s fantastic over seasoned basmati rice. This meal has a really great, mild flavor, even if you’re not typically a fan of Indian-type food.

Pot of curried lentils

Curried lentils with basmati

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Vegetable ham chowder

I wish the picture did it justice.

Let me tell you about this recipe.

It all started as a Better Homes and Gardens recipe with lots of cheese and very few veggies. I didn’t have enough cheese. I kept tossing in veggies till it looked more colorful. A star was born.

Since then, I’ve made it 4 or 5 times. It is so easy, and it uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a health food, but it’s certainly not a health splurge either. Please make this soup. You will be everyone’s favorite person within seconds of putting it on the table (or maybe Stephen is just biased…).


I’m sorry… I have never measured. And it has never turned out exactly the same. Yet it has been delicious every time. Rest assured…. though my made-up, highly approximate measurements in this list are not entirely accurate, I’m sure they’re close enough to the truth to turn out pretty great. You can achieve Ingredient Victory. I believe in you.

  • 2 1/2 cups water (3 cups if you really have a lot of vegetables)
  • 3-5 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 a large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, or whatever you have)
  • 1 15-oz can cream-style corn (I’m actually going to try it with 2 cans next time, since I added so many extra veggies the last time I made it that the corn was almost nonexistent)
  • 1 cup cooked cubed ham (you can use up to 2 cups if you’d like it more meaty, but I prefer to let the vegetables shine)

The chopping may take a little while, but that’s the most labor-intensive part of the recipe by far.


It is so quick and easy (especially compared to the burgundy beef stew recipe I posted last week…).

  1. Combine water, potatoes, carrots, celery and onion in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes (I usually simmer mine a little longer because I like the potatoes to start crumbling at the edges). Do not drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (do this while the vegetables are cooking). Stir in the flour and pepper until thick and smooth.
  3. Add the milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Side note: Do not step away from the stove for too long. Milk can go from nothing to BIGMESSBOILINGOVER in approximately 1.4 seconds.
  4. Add the cheese to the milk mixture and stir until it melts. This pot should now be full of velvety, cheesy goodness.
  5. Pour the cheese mixture into the vegetable mixture whenever the vegetables are done simmering.
  6. Stir in the corn and ham. Season to taste with more pepper. Heat through, but try not to let it boil.

Stephen and I usually eat this with Cholula sauce (the stuff sweet, sweet dreams are made of).

[rabbit trail] I grew up on Cholula sauce, and the stuff can go on almost anything. When Stephen joined the family, he was soon initiated and now he loves it too. We are kind of addicted. [/end rabbit trail]

It’s great with cornbread on the side!

Veggies in the pot before cooking:

Pot of chopped vegetables

And… ta-da! A beautiful Vat-O’-Soup:

Pot of veggie ham chowder

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