oh hey there!  just popping by with my seemingly bi-yearly blog post… as broken record as I (always) sound, please forgive my blog-ish inattentiveness and accept this delicious lasagna as a token of my apology.

Life has been on fast-forward lately, full of lots of excitement and hectic-ness, just the way I prefer it… Over these past few months of dental school, my life has seemingly been on autopilot, leaving little time for cooking/baking/shenanigans, so over Christmas break it was nice to slow down for a minute and concoct some stuff to share in this little forgotten corner of cyberspace! As of last week, I am back in full school mode again, but am crossing my fingers to be more diligent in my writing… please forgive me in advance for the impending 10-minute dinners in lieu of anything remotely resembling gourmet.


Among the many changes I experienced over my first semester of dental school, one random development is my newfound propensity to cook the night before tests: so far this semester I’ve paired homemade lemon bars with histology, salted caramel cheesecake with biochem, and carrot soufflé with renal physiology.

This particular gem was prodded into fruition by a skull osteology test, prompting Laura and I to declare it “Pterion Tuesday”, finding it oh so ironic I had made this vege-“tarian” dish while studying the p-“terion” suture.  While the humor in this was obviously conjured by our late night academic stupor, the delicious factor remained staunch the following day (and maybeee even the day after that, too… #leftovers)

This dish is fast, ridiculously easy, and a perfect supper even when you aren’t surging with procrastination – I hope you like this la-zag-nuh (I know that’s how you say it in your head, too…) as much as we did. Happy dinner-ing!

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen corn kernels
– 5 green onions, chopped
– 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
– 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
– 16-ounces shredded Mexican cheese
– Hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and cumin. In the bottom of your baking dish, spread 2/3 cup of the crushed tomatoes (about 1/5 of the can) and top with 5-6 lasagna noodles, breaking them to fit the pan if needed. Next layer about 1/3 of the bean mixture, another 2/3 cup of tomatoes, and a heavy drizzling of hot sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.

Repeat the layering process two more times (noodles + beans + tomatoes + cheese) and finish with a layer of noodles + tomatoes + cheese. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the noodles are fully cooked. Remove the foil and bake an addition 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a minimum of 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream and more cilantro!

{serves 8 to 10}

Source: Annie’s Eats

Summer. Vegetable. Tart.

Or, in more accurate words: summer-blahblahblah.  The whole “vegetable tart” component of this equation is an irrelevant, albeit insanely delicious, player.

I live for summer: the slower pace, the longer days, the bounds of fresh vegetables I pretend to enjoy.  After spending a much-needed afternoon in the kitchen with my sister and serving this on our patio at an impromptu get-together, I found this tart to be the perfect introduction to all three this season.

Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, everything comes together to make a really unique flavor.  The faint sweetness of the crescent dough combined with the savory spread and crisp veggies is unexpectedly divine.

Oh, and why have I yet to incorporate this product into my kitchen?!

Everything that is good about crescent rolls but in a seriously convenient no-seams dough…

Roll the dough on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  The dough sheets didn’t fit exactly perfectly, so it took a bit of cutting/finagling to make a neat rectangle… don’t worry if it looks “messy” at this point: once you spread on the delicious topping, all unevenness will be hidden.  I rolled the edges to create a crust, then baked for about 9 minutes until it was golden brown.

While the crust is baking, wash and prep your veg.  This picture almost makes me want to start eating tomatoes like grapes… almost.  I used my mandoline {I have this one} to slice the veggies at 1/8″ in (attempted) uniformity.

Once the crust has cooled, spread evenly with the herby mixture.  We didn’t use all of the spread, but found it to be delish as a dip for leftover vegetables or even spread on a turkey wrap for lunch the next day.

Now the fun part…

…decorating this little masterpiece.

Perfectly diagonal.

Perfectly symmetrical.

Perfectly perfect.

Clearly you can see that I had no part whatsoever in this illustrious arrangement.

Now thank your sister for her obviously non-genetic disposition to precision and put the tart in the fridge to chill until your guests arrive {6 hour-ish if you can, even overnight is fine}

If you’re in a hurry, you can also just chop the vegetables and sprinkle confetti style over the crust… haphazard veg sprinkleage = still ridiculously delicious tart.

Here’s to the start of a deliciously wonderful summer… enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Tart

- 2 packages crescent rolls
– 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese
– 1 package dry ranch dressing mix (3 Tablespoons)
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– assorted chopped vegetables (cucumber, grape tomatoes, yellow and
green bell pepper, shredded carrots, and broccoli)
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place crescent rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, pressing together any seams. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Mix softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix using an electric mixer and spread on cooled crust. Sprinkle with chopped vegetables or arrange in a decorative pattern. Top with shredded cheese, if using. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

{makes 16 appetizer-sized servings}

Spring {break} has sprung.

Time for beach-ing and sea spray and hardback books. Time for sorbet denim and straw hats.  Time to laugh and catch up.  Time to relax.

Oh, and time to make a chocolate cake.

This decadence, though, is not just any chocolate cake.

It is simultaneously super-fudgy and airily light.  Its covered in thick fudge icing, scattered with toasty pecans.  It is made in one bowl, with one spoon, in just thirty little minutes.

It is the epitome of a comfort-food dessert.


Start by stirring together some flour and sugar.

In a separate saucepan, melt together some butter, cocoa powder, and water.  Heat until the mixture boils.

Remove from heat.  Note that extreme spring break sunburn combined with the steam facial exuded by a boiling cocoa-ish mixture is unabashedly unpleasant.  Baker beware.

Mix in, um, everything else.  See… easiest cake ever!

Pour everything into a greased 9×13″ pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-ish minutes.  Wait patiently.

With about 5 minutes of baking time left for the cake, start making the proverbial – and literal- icing on the cake.

Combine some butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan (just rinse out the one you used earlier!) and bring to a boil… Remove from the heat and stir in a box of powdered sugar until the mixture is combined and smooth.  Stir in a little vanilla and some chopped pecans, then pour the whole thing over the hot cake — pronto!

(Since this is kind of a cooked icing of sorts, it will harden quickly, hence the need to pour it on the cake muy rápidamente… instead of using a spatula to spread, swirl the pan around a bit to make sure all the corners are covered!)

The next crucial step is to place the cooling cake strategically in your kitchen… positioned perhaps on the stove or the obscure back of your counter.  This slyness exudes the effortless charm this cake is all about….

i.e. company visits –> your house smells like Willy Wonka has taken over –> “What is that? It smells sooo good!” –> “Oh, you mean this crazy delicious chocolate thing sitting back here unassumingly?  Just something I whipped up!”


Seriously, though, whoever you serve this to will feel totally special.  And loved.  And full.

Chocolate fudge cake…. I think I love you.

30-Minute Chocolate Fudge Cake

for the cake
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 cups sugar
– 2 sticks butter
– 1 cup water
– 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup buttermilk
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, and cocoa over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and pour over the flour/sugar mixture. Mix well. Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Pour into a well-greased 9×13 pan, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

for the fudge icing
– 1 stick butter
– 4 Tablespoons milk
– 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
– 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 cup chopped pecans

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, milk, and cocoa and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, stirring well with a whisk or wooden spoon until the sugar melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla and pecans, then pour over hot cake.

{serves 12 to 16}


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