All posts by ebouts@msn.com

Roasted Green Beans, and a simple supper idea

Yes, roasted green beans!  No more soggy beans, or canned beans.

The secret is:  the pan must be really hot.  If you place the beans in a cold pan, and try to roast them like that, they will be rubbery.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place a rimmed metal sheet pan or metal cookie sheet or metal cake pan in the oven at the same time so the pan heats up.

Just snap the ends off of plain old fresh green beans.  Place them in a bowl and drizzle them with a really little amount of oil:  a good quality olive oil or pure avocado oil is my preference.  What is important in this step is that the beans aren’t drowning in oil.  They should just lightly glisten.  The beans shouldn’t be in a puddle of oil.

Next, season them.  My favorite seasoning for the beans is Montreal Steak Seasoning (I know!  This isn’t steak, but somehow it’s an amazing combination).  I put plenty on the beans, and they taste great!  You can use lemon pepper, or just salt, or pretty much whatever seasoning you like.  I season them generously because I enjoy the peppery bite on the beans.

When the oven is hot and the pan is hot, dump the beans with their oil and seasoning in the pan and quickly try to spread them out so they’re in a single layer.  They don’t need to be neatly lined up like soldiers, just not piled up.

Roast them for about 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes so the beans char evenly on all sides (or stir them about with a spatula).  When they’re lightly charred, they’re done.  They’re good as a side dish, or as a snack.

Another idea for a simple supper:  to the green beans in the bowl, prior to cooking, add shelled edamame (out of the pods).   A couple of big handfuls of beans, and about half that amount of shelled edamame (frozen is fine, or pods that you’ve cooked and shelled), with the small amount of oil and a hearty sprinkling of Montreal Steak Seasoning, or lemon pepper or salt.  Do the same thing with the pan: preheat it while the oven’s preheating to 425 degrees.  Dump the beans and edamame on the hot pan and roast until lightly charred.  Then grate fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over them and return to the oven for just a minute or two until the cheese begins to melt.  That’s it!  It’s almost no work, vegetarian, and really simple and satisfying.   Fresh cornbread is a nice accompaniment.

Adventures in hotel cooking, with a rice cooker!

I have a rice cooker, but it’s one of those “fuzzy logic” rice cookers with many more functions than simply cooking rice.  In fact, one of the things I use it for the least is cooking rice!  The type that we own sautes, steams, and it’s also a slow-cooker!  I have a huge 6 quart slow-cooker, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a smaller slow-cooker.  When you’re cooking for 1 or 2 people, it’s great to not have to bring out the massive slow-cooker that would hold a turkey or a huge batch of spaghetti sauce.  I also use mine to cook dried beans.  When I cook pinto beans and black beans I don’t even soak them – just dump them in the rice cooker as though they were rice, add plenty of water, and let them cook on the “brown rice” setting.  I do check after an hour or so and add more water.

It’s also the best chick pea (garbanzo bean) cooker that I’ve ever found.  I soak the beans the night before, and then drain them.  They go into the rice cooker on the brown rice setting and they’re done in just a couple hours with no tending to them necessary at all.  If you like, you can add some onions, or some fresh orange or lemon slices and a little salt.  Then, for pennies, you have the basis of a great hummus and the freshly cooked beans are so much more flavorful than the canned ones.  And a hummus doesn’t need expensive (and calorie-loaded) tahini!  Just puree the garbanzo beans, add some olive oil, a fresh squeezed lemon, and, if you like, some spices (curry powder, or chili powder is delicious!  Mix it and add enough olive oil so it’s the consistency that you like.  Stir in some pureed avocado or roasted vegetables and it’s even more amazing.

Recently we spent a week at a hotel.  It had a “kitchenette”, with a tiny sink, a mini-fridge and a microwave.  But we didn’t want to eat all microwaved meals, or meals at restaurants, so I brought some groceries in a cooler and tote bag, and the rice cooker.  We were able to eat healthy meals cooked in the rice cooker, and avoid expensive restaurant or hotel suppers.

Here’s some rice cooker/hotel meal ideas that worked well for us.

1.  I poured half water and half Kitchen Basics chicken broth (no msg or sugars) into the slow cooker, added salt, and dumped in a one pound box of penne pasta.  Then I inserted the steamer tray, which sets above where you put the rice or pasta.  I filled the steamer tray with broccoli florets, sliced mini bell peppers, sliced carrots and boneless skinless chicken thighs, which I had cut into bite-sized pieces.  I poured some sauces over the meat and vegetables.  (I happened to use some spicy Asian sauces that don’t have extra sugar, but you could also use hot sauce, buffalo wing sauce, or just a little butter or olive oil depending on what taste you like).  I set the rice cooker to the steam setting, and the water started boiling and the chicken and vegetables steamed beautifully.  Everything was done in less than 30 minutes.

 
2.  Using the saute function, I sauteed ground turkey, diced mini bell peppers and pineapple chunks.  Then I dumped in rice (I used jasmine rice, but any type would do) and a little soy sauce, and the amount of water specified in the manufacturer’s instructions for the amount of rice I used.  I set the rice cooker to the rice setting and it made a delicious rice casserole.  I thought about serving it in lettuce cups but the mini-fridge was working overtime and the lettuce froze, so it turned out to be a bowl meal instead.

3.  I got cream cheese from the continental breakfast at the hotel.  Into the rice cooker, I put a 10 oz bag of baby spinach, a can of artichoke hearts (in water, no marinade, and I chopped them up before adding them), a package of cheese sticks (I used those swirled ones of Cheddar and Monterey Jack), about 6 ounces of cream cheese (6 little individual packets that they serve with the bagels at the breakfast), some diced mini bell peppers and some frozen shelled edamame.  The rice cooker was set to the slow-cooker function and about an hour later we had a delicious hot spinach artichoke dip, served with bagel chips for dipping.

4.  One night’s menu was a healthy salad of tuna (from those no-drain packets), edamame, mandarin oranges, walnuts, Kalamata olives, and dried cranberries.

The foods that I brought for meals included:  the no-drain foil packets of tuna, a bag of broccoli florets, a bag of sliced carrots, a bag of fresh baby spinach, a bag of mini bell peppers, a frozen bag of shelled edamame, and small bottles of soy sauce, olive oil, and hot sauces.  Ordinarily I would not buy just broccoli florets or sliced carrots, but in a tiny hotel kitchen, with no cutting board, I really wasn’t able to trim broccoli, save the stalks for a vegetable stock and easily dispose of the stems (the same with the carrots), a package of ground turkey, a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs, rice, pasta, salt and bagel chips (they don’t crush easily like potato chips, and they’re great for dips of all kinds).  I got butter and cream cheese from the hotel breakfast bar.  I also brought a paper carton of chicken stock (Kitchen Basics brand, which is great).  For fruits, I brought those little cups of mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks in pure juice (with no sugar).  I also brought a jar of Kalamata olives and a couple of small packets of chopped nuts (again, no cutting board or good knife, so convenience won out!).

It was nice to be able to turn on the slow cooker when we left for the day and come home to a hot meal.  It definitely saved money!

Eggs, avocados and tomatoes baked in ham or turkey slices – delicious for brunch!

This is a quick and easy idea for a gluten- and grain- and dairy-free breakfast or brunch.

I used a small single-serve oven proof dish for each serving.  Muffin tins would work, too.  I lightly sprayed each with non-stick spray.

Line each cup or dish with prosciutto, ham or turkey slices.  Just wind them around inside and bottom of the cup so they form a nest.

Then slice up some avocados and tomatoes and lay them in the nest.  Break an egg on top and bake at about 325 degrees until the egg white is set and the yolk is cooked to your liking (I prefer the yolk runny, but you can cook it until the yolk is completely set, too).

Scatter some crushed almonds on top, or chives or other herbs, or some cheese if dairy is ok in your food plan.  I used almond meal left over from making almond milk and the almond pieces crisped up nicely.  Serve right away.

Homemade Sloppy Joes: No sugar, no gluten, no dairy, no junk

Sloppy Joes in the traditional can (that are supposed to make families come together and chat happily at the table) contain several different types of sugar, several stabilizers (guar gum, carob bean gum, xanthan gum), nearly 3000 mg of sodium per can, and 35 mg of sugar per can, which is about the same as a can of cola (and that’s just in the small size can!!!).   Most recipes for homemade Sloppy Joes call for quite a lot of brown sugar or other sweeteners.  My challenge was: how could they be made without sugar, but still have that slightly sweet taste?  The secret, I think, is in the onions!

I thought that if I caramelized the onions – over low heat and for a nice long time – they might add the sweetness that the recipe needs.   Most recipes say to quickly saute onions, peppers and celery until they’re tender, taking just a few minutes.  Caramelizing takes some time (but little effort) and will let you make the Sloppy Joes without any more sweeteners.  When onions are caramelized, they’re cooked slowly, over a fairly low heat, and the sugars that are naturally present develop a deep rich flavor.

It worked.  The final result had no added sugar, but it was delicious!

Ingredients:

2 very large onions, sliced

1 large or 2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, diced

a couple of celery stalks, diced

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef (you could use lean ground turkey)

3 tablespoons of tomato paste (with no sugar or processed ingredients)

1 28 oz can of peeled whole tomatoes (again, with no sugar)

optional: 2 tablespoons of the thickener of your choice (gluten free choices: tapioca flour or arrowroot powder or coconut flour – or you could use regular flour)

olive oil

optional:  a teaspoon or two of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet.  Add the sliced onions and cook over medium-low heat for about an hour.  Stir every 12 or 15 minutes until the onions are very soft and a deep golden color.  Don’t rush this.

When they’re soft and golden, turn up the heat a little and add the peppers and celery and cook just until they’re tender.  Add the beef and cook until it’s thoroughly browned.  Add the tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes.   Pour some of the tomato juice from the can into a measuring cup and stir in the tapioca flour (or whichever flour you’re using) until the flour is well combined.  Add the tomatoes and the rest of the juice to the beef mixture and cook until it’s all heated throughout.  Stir in the tomato juice/flour mixture and cook until the entire mixture is thickened (just a few minutes more).  Add a splash of vinegar and stir to combine.  (The vinegar adds just a little tang and flavor.)

Serve over your choice of toasted buns, or for a gluten-free option, serve over baked sweet potatoes.

Roasted Carrot and Fruit Almond Oat Bars

Maybe these need a simpler name but I wanted to get across what’s in them.  What’s NOT in them is gluten and dairy!  And the only sweetener is a small amount of raw honey.  They’re very soft and really delicious!  Important note:  if you’re gluten-free due to medical necessity, make sure the oats that you use in this recipe are certified gluten-free, as not all oats are.  

There’s a little preparation that needs to be done before making them, but it’s all pretty easy.  These bars have protein and good nutrients, but they have no processed ingredients, no gluten and no dairy.  You’ll need homemade almond milk and oat flour.

I made homemade almond milk because: 1/ it’s simple, and 2/ the almond milk that is commercially available contains carrageenan, sugar and too many additives.  Maybe some stores sell pure almond milk without this stuff, but I can’t locate any.  The ingredient list on the almond milks in the dairy sections of most supermarkets is depressing.

To make almond milk, you’ll just need raw unsalted almonds (available at bulk bins at many grocery stores) and water.  If you buy raw unsalted almonds in a jar or can, just make sure that the only ingredient is almonds.  I just grabbed about a pound.  A half pound would do for this recipe.

Soak the almonds in plenty of water overnight (or for several hours at least).  Then drain and rinse them (discard the soaking water), and pulse them with fresh water in a food processor or blender until they’re coarsely chopped (about the size of large bread crumbs).  A good ratio of is about 2 cups of almonds to about 6 cups of water.  Most recipes call for a ratio of 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water but I wanted a slightly thicker, richer almond milk.  Empty that batch (almonds and water) into a large bowl and repeat until you’ve chopped all the almonds.  Then you’ll just need to drain the liquid into a container – that’s almond “milk”.  Important:  save the chopped almonds that are left after all the liquid has drained!  That’s almond meal, and it’s great to add to doughs and batters (pancakes, breads, cookies!).  Some people use a fine strainer (that’s good if you have a strainer with really small holes so the almond pieces won’t fall through), or a colander lined with cheesecloth.  The best choice, especially if you want to make your own nut or oat milks frequently, is to buy a simple nut milk bag (I bought an inexpensive and very well constructed one from Elaina Love’s Pure Joy Planet on Amazon, but many health food stores have them.  It’s less than $7 and well worth it!).

To make oat flour, I just used my coffee grinder.  A food processor or blender would do.  I used steel cut oats, but you could use regular oats.  Just give the oats a whirl until they look like flour!  Pretty simple, right?

Now you’ve done the hard part.  Let’s go on with the recipe.

Ingredients:

8 ounces carrots

2 cups almond meal

1 ¼ cups oat flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup raw unfiltered local honey (or pure maple syrup)

½ cup beaten egg (I combined a large egg with enough egg whites to make ½ cup)

¼ cup almond milk

1 cup dried cranberries or raisins or other fruit

1 apple, peeled and diced

 

Directions:

Roast the carrots in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned and tender.  Chop coarsely.  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Combine the almond meal, oat flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Gently stir in the liquid ingredients until thoroughly combined and then mix in the carrots, apple, and cranberries or raisins.

Line a rimmed baking sheet (10 x 12 inches) or a 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.  Evenly spread the batter in the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely and cut into squares.

 

A One-Ingredient Pasta Sauce (well, one ingredient plus some water, to be precise)

You’ll need a blender or food processor for this sauce, but little else.  Here’s how to make a one-ingredient pasta sauce, plus some variations.  I’ll include a brief summary for those of you who prefer just a simple overview, and then I’ll provide details for the readers who like a more complete recipe with explanations.

Ingredient: One winter squash.

The quick version:  roast a squash and puree it, adding just enough water to make a smooth consistency.  (A little pasta cooking water is excellent).  Add to hot cooked pasta, stir gently and enjoy!

Variations:  stir in grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a little freshly grated nutmeg.  Add salt to taste (how much salt you need will depend on the sweetness of the squash you chose, which can only be determined by tasting it).  Instead of fresh water, or water left over from cooking the pasta, use chicken stock for a richer sauce. Top the pasta and roasted squash puree with chopped toasted walnuts, or bacon, or roasted prosciutto.

Now for the detailed version:

You can use an acorn squash, butternut squash, or a pumpkin (make sure it’s a pumpkin grown for baking or for use in recipes, not the large inedible ones intended for carving and decorating only) – almost any winter squash except for a spaghetti squash will work.  Most grocery stores identify the pumpkins that can be cooked as “pie pumpkins” or “sweet pumpkins”, and they call the others “carving pumpkins” or “Jack-O-Lanterns”.  The produce manager can tell you whether the pumpkin is intended for eating or for decorative purposes only.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil or parchment paper.  You can either cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and lay the squash halves cut-side down on the pan, or you can simply put the whole squash on the pan.  There’s some debate as to whether a whole squash should be pierced a couple of times prior to baking.  Some cooks say to pierce the squash with a sharp knife or fork, as you would when baking a potato, and some cooks say this allows delicious steam and flavors to escape and they don’t pierce the skin.  I’ve roasted whole winter squashes and I simply make one small knife slit in the skin – I don’t feel like using my oven as an experimental pumpkin explosion testing center.

Anyway, roast a winter squash: halved, seeded and cut-side down, or whole.  Just roast it until the squash is very tender, when a fork inserted into the squash pierces it easily with no resistance.  That will take about 45 minutes to an hour, at 350 degrees, unless you are roasting an unusually large squash, which may take longer.

Let it cool, and then either scrape the flesh from the skin, or cut the whole roasted squash in half and scrape out the seeds and then the flesh.  Transfer just the flesh to a blender or food processor.  Puree it, and add just enough water to make a smooth sauce.  The best choice would be the water left over from cooking pasta: when you drain the pasta just save about a cup of the water.  The goal is to have a sauce that is a similar consistency to a cheese sauce, like when you’re making macaroni and cheese, not too thin and watery, and not too thick.

Now you can use the pureed squash as is – just stir it into hot cooked pasta   Or you can add some grated parmesan cheese and a little nutmeg (freshly grated nutmeg is best).  If the squash was very sweet, you might need some salt, but that’s up to you.  You’ll only know how sweet the squash was by tasting it.

I toasted some prosciutto on a baking sheet until the prosciutto was very crispy and crumbled that over the pasta and squash puree just before serving.  Crumbled cooked bacon would also be good.

Toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans would also be delicious on this pasta, as would chopped dried cranberries, and/or grated Parmigiano cheese.

But, if you just use the roasted and pureed squash, with a little water added to it to make it a smooth puree, you’ll have a very healthy and simple sauce made from just one real food.

A new take on Grilled Cheese

This sandwich is a delicious new way to appreciate avocados, and it’s a fresh idea on the traditional grilled cheese.

Ingredients (for one sandwich)

2 slices firm bread or rustic bread (we used a nice rustic Italian loaf)                                       1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced (mashed would be ok too)                           1 large ripe tomato                                                                                                                                              a couple of ounces of good quality blue cheese (your favorite type)                                         a handful of baby arugula leaves, or baby spinach, or mixed greens

Toast or grill one side of each of the slices of bread.  Lay the bread slices, toasted/grilled side down, on a baking sheet or broiler-safe pan.  Preheat the broiler.

Slice the tomato thinly and lay the tomato on one of the bread slices.  Top the other bread slice with the blue cheese.  A nice thick layer of blue cheese would be nice, but how much you use is up to you.

Broil the slices of bread, with their tomato and cheese toppings, just until the cheese is beginning to melt and turn golden.

Remove the bread slices from the oven, and quickly lay the avocado slices and your choice of greens on the tomato side.  Place the cheese side, with the cheese facing the vegetables, on top of the greens, and enjoy!

I took this one step further.  Prior to starting to make the sandwich, I sliced a couple of nice big tomatoes into one-half inch thick slices and spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I drizzled the slices with a little olive oil, sprinkled them with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roasted them at about 400 degrees until they were tender and golden.  Instead of fresh tomatoes in the avocado grilled cheese, I used the roasted slices.

If you’re not liking the whole vegetarian feeling of this sandwich, you could slip a few slices of beautiful cooked bacon into it.  Just lay the cooked bacon underneath the tomatoes before you broil it.

I don’t usually prefer Gorgonzola cheese.  My favorite is Stilton, but a nice Amish blue cheese or Danish blue cheese would be great.  The combination of fresh avocado, broiled blue cheese, tomatoes and hearty bread is really delicious!  This is no ordinary grilled cheese!

Stuffed Pasta Shells, lightened up

I happen to love stuffed shells, filled with a rich egg and ricotta and mozzarella mixture, covered in a hearty marinara sauce.  They’re great on a cold winter’s night, and frankly, they’re about the only way most of us eat stuffed shells.

Recently I made a version that would be nice and light for warmer days.

The quick summary:  I made a simple white sauce and added a little grated Parmigiano cheese.  Chopped cooked chicken and chopped frozen broccoli were stirred into the white sauce, stuffed into cooked pasta shells, and baked until hot.

You could substitute peas or corn or your favorite vegetable or a combination of vegetables, for the broccoli.

More detailed directions here:

Make a simple, light white sauce.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and then add 3 tablespoons of flour.  Combine well and stir for about 4 minutes.  Add 2 cups of milk and stir until thickened over medium-low heat.  Add a handful of grated parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese is softened.  Remove from the heat.  By the way, I substituted canola oil for the butter and used skim milk.

To the white sauce, add about a heaping cup of chopped cooked chicken (leftover, or rotisserie) and an equal amount of chopped cooked or frozen vegetables (all one kind or a combination).  Stuff into cooked pasta shells and place in an 8 inch square baking dish.  Bake at about 350 degrees until heated throughout, about 30 minutes.

This amount makes a relatively small dish, not a big family casserole.  It can be doubled (or tripled).

 

 

 

 

More adventures with baked avocados: Roasted Guacamole!

Ok, I know.  This is NOT true guacamole.  Guacamole is an amazing blend of fresh avocado, lime juice and salt, with the addition of certain raw vegetables according to one’s preference and traditions.  There are hundreds of variations.  Some people prefer a specific type of onion, or leave the onion out altogether, and some add garlic.  Some cooks insist that tomatoes do not belong in guacamole and some wouldn’t call it guacamole if it didn’t have tomatoes.  Some people use hotter peppers, and some are minimalists, using simply avocados.  Then there are the people who add in sour cream or their own favorite additions, or who will argue over whether the guacamole should be creamy or chunky.  But nearly every guacamole recipe involves time and fine chopping or mashing, and requires that it be served immediately.

Thanks to my daughter, our family has a wonderful guacamole recipe.  It involves a lot of fine dicing (usually that’s my job) and then she is the perfecter of the proper ratio of spice, saltiness, raw vegetables, and acid, mixing with precision.  It must be served immediately, and it’s delicious.  Fresh guacamole starts to turn an dull brown after it’s exposed to air, and the myth of keeping an avocado pit in a bowl of guacamole to preserve it is just that: a myth.  A thin layer of water or olive oil will help keep leftover guacamole fresh for a short time, but the best way to deal with guacamole is to devour it completely right away!  More chips!  Tequila, anyone?

But since I’ve been experimenting with baked avocados lately, I wanted to try a simple roasted “guacamole”.  This will not be a beautiful blended typical guacamole, but more like a rustic roasted avocado salsa.  The upside of this is that it only takes seconds to prepare, and there’s no fine dicing needed.  You only need to know how to pit an avocado, and how to hack a vegetable in half.  Plus, since everything’s roasted, there’s no need to rush to serve it while it’s still bright green;  it’s already golden brown and tender! It could be served with chips, or as a topping for tacos or fajitas or nachos.

To prepare it, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  (That’s not essential, it means you can simply toss the parchment paper and have no cleanup afterwards.)

Gather your favorite guacamole or salsa ingredients.  I peeled and cut an avocado into quarters and then cut a few jalapeños, tomatoes, onions and limes in half.  Make sure to use several limes.   Throw everything on the baking sheet.

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Feel free to add different types of hot peppers and/or garlic and use more or less of a certain ingredient, according to your taste and what’s available.  Generously salt everything, and drizzle a bit of olive oil over all.  Roast at about 400 degrees until it’s all golden and tender.  This might take a half hour, but there’s no tending to it, no need to stir or fuss.

When it’s done, remove the limes and squeeze the juice from them over all the roasted guacamole/salsa.  You can let your family or guests choose their roasted ingredients, or you can place everything on a cutting board and roughly chop and combine everything.

This photo shows what it looks like just after roasting, before chopping into more manageable pieces,  with the lime still in there.   It’s not beautiful, but it sure is delicious!

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Baked Avocados – For an Easy Breakfast or Amazing Nachos!

How does this sound?  Breakfast that you can roast in a fruit and customize in dozens of ways?  No bowl needed, almost no cleanup?  Plus it’s healthy and delicious! (Avocados are technically a fruit).

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First, the basics:  you’ll need an avocado and two eggs.  This works best with a large avocado and smaller eggs.  Since I only had large eggs on hand, I cracked the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and poured off about half the egg white (I saved the extra egg whites in a bowl in the fridge to stir into scrambled eggs next time I make them).

Then, halve and pit the avocado.  Don’t do anything else to it.  Into the hollow area of each of the avocado halves, where the pit was, place one egg.  Put the avocados in a small baking dish (you can line it with parchment paper if you want, for easier cleanup).  Bake them at 350 degrees until the eggs are set.   Breakfast is ready!  (You can cook the eggs thoroughly, or you can take them out when the whites are set and the yolks are still a little runny:  your choice, your preference).

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Now, you can just dig a spoon into this and eat it.  The avocado is warm and delicious and smooth, and when you’re done, throw the “bowl” (the avocado peel) away!  No cleanup! Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like, or cumin, or paprika, or hot sauce.

And here is the part where you can customize this, top it, spice it up, and make nachos!

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On top of the hot avocado and egg, you can add chopped tomatoes and grated cheese, chopped onions, or salsa (extremely mild or devilishly hot), or fresh pico de gallo (or all of those!)  You could top it with cooked crumbled sausage (hot or mild), or chorizo, or even soy chorizo (which is surprisingly good!).   You can keep your choices healthy, or vegetarian, or dairy-free, or make them as spicy and meaty as you like.  Add just a few simple toppings, or bury those avocados in a mountain of extras!

Another option is to make the baked avocados into amazing nachos:

 

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It couldn’t be easier:  spread some tortilla chips on a plate.  Using a spoon, scoop the baked avocados and eggs out of the avocado peel, and place them on the chips.  Just smash the avocados so they spread out on the chips (or, if you want to be neater, use a knife to cube up the avocados).  I topped them with cheese, tomatoes and salsa.  You can add lettuce, cooked black or pinto beans, salsa, fresh vegetables, roasted corn, cooked ground beef or sausage, or just keep it simple.  You could even omit the eggs and bake the avocados with halved cherry or tomatoes instead of the eggs.   Keep it super simple with just good salsa from a jar, or get creative with toppings!  Make it a healthy breakfast, or a delicious dinner!

So what would you put on these Baked Avocado Nachos?  I’d love to hear your ideas!