Sunday, September 26, 2010

Women’s Half Marathon

Disclaimer: Sorry, there’s no food here, but I just have to share what I did this weekend because it is truly miraculous.

Remember in my last entry when I talked about doing Couch to 5K? Well, I decided to skip over the last few weeks and the 5K, 5-mile, 10K, and everything in between and move right up to the 1/2 Marathon. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that I accidentally ran a half marathon on Saturday.

It all started a week ago this past Friday. My mom, a dedicated runner since before my birth, has been struggling with her hamstring. She had signed up to run the Women’s Half in Nashville on September 25th but found herself still dealing with her injury. She called me up and asked me if I would do it with her. We would mostly walk since there would be lots of other walkers and probably finish in about 3:30. I agreed. So now I had 8 days to ready myself for a half marathon. You know, like you do.

Friday, I did an easy workout on the Arc-Trainer, went to work, a wedding rehearsal, and picked up my race number, t-shirt, and goodie bag at the Expo. While tempted by the fun running accoutrements, I decided to wait until I did a “real” half to paste a big 13.1 sticker on my car. Joe and I went to the kick-off party for our church fellowship groups, and I had more wine than I intended seeing as I was doing the half the next day. But we headed home, and I set my alarm for 5:30 AM.

When it went off the next morning, I chugged some water, threw my clothes and Garmin on, and waited for my mom to arrive. The banana I had set aside to eat was bruised beyond being edible, so I ate a Nature Valley granola bar. My mom arrived and we zoomed downtown to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where there were lots of women roaming around, many in pink.


Jo Dee Messina sang the National Anthem, and I declared that, pre-emptively, the highlight of the race. The gun went off, and we shuffled toward the front since my number put me in the last corral. So what happened? How did I, a running neophyte with little to no training, run a half marathon? In the simplest of terms, we started running at the beginning, trying to pass by some of the slower walkers and get closer to the walk-joggers, and we never really stopped. The half marathon that I was supposed to walk with my mother with a few jog breaks turned in to a half marathon that we ran punctuated by a few walk breaks.


When there were hills, we walked up them. When I got tired or my knees got a little achy, I walked for a few minutes. The longest running race I have finished in my life was a 5 mile race when we lived in Dallas 10 years ago or more. First we passed the 3 hour pace group and then the 2:45 pace group. When we passed the 5 mile mark, it was the longest race I had ever run. Then we passed the 8 mile marker, the 10 mile marker, and all we had was a 5K in front of us. Of course, it was the hardest 5K of my life, but I never felt bad. It was a gorgeous day, if a bit warm. The course was lovely and laid out well, if a bit hilly. Then my mom and I crossed the finish line holding hands. I had just run (for the most part) a half marathon in 2 hours and 32 minutes, an 11:29 pace. WTF?

Like my mom said around mile 12, “You didn’t really think you had completely escaped the gene for this, did you?” But seriously, I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did. By some miracle, I didn’t hurt myself, experience any intestinal issues, chafing, blisters, dehydration, or any of the myriad things that can happen during a half marathon. I’m young, relatively fit, and stupid, which occasionally works out to my advantage. I didn’t have time to get nervous. I didn’t have a plan. We just went out there and had fun, keeping our bodies’ limitations in mind the whole time. I also did this with an extremely experienced partner, my mom, who has run many, many races, including ultra-marathons.


It was also fun! The volunteers at the aid stations, the other participants, and everyone who cheered along the route were so enthusiastic and encouraging. I can’t wait to do another half marathon, next time preferably with some training and alongside my husband. My knees were sore afterward, but otherwise I’m not in too much pain. For now, I’m going to finish C25K and then work on increasing mileage, but completing this half marathon successfully has really given me the boost I needed to keep running.

Have you ever done something that you never imagined you were capable of doing?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Acorn Squash Quesadillas

While Joe and I have always been active, we recently started the Couch to 5K program. I have this crazy idea that we should run. We’re surrounded by gorgeous parks, Nashville has relatively good weather for most of the year, and I wanted a challenge. Plus, my best friend and her boyfriend have had a lot of success with the program. Since we weren’t quite “Couch”, the first few weeks were pretty nice. Last night, however, was the dreaded Week 5 Day 3 workout. Twenty solid minutes of running. I know that for some people that’s no big deal, but neither Joe nor I are natural-born runners. It also happened to be about 90-degrees in the evening when we headed to the greenway to do it. But we did it!


Those stats include our 5 minute warm-up walk and 5 minute cool-down walk. I was pretty impressed by how we did. We ran all of Lap 2, and a 10:40 mile sounds pretty good to me.

The problem with running as exercise, particularly with it being so hot, is that, even though I only burned about 250 calories, I felt like I deserved a bunch of beer and ice cream. Instead, I got these delicious quesadillas.


Smoky roasted poblanos, spicy jalapenos, and nutty acorn squash plus melty cheese. Joe is also hereafter going to be the quesadilla-maker, as long as I’m not watching to see how much cheese he puts in and how much oil he uses in the pan, because these were perfect. The tortilla got super crisp while the filling stayed hot and creamy. We will be making these again, particularly if our CSA keeps giving us winter squash.

Acorn Squash Quesadillas
source: Erin’s Food Files
Yields 2 or 3 quesadillas depending on how full you stuff them

1 small/medium acorn squash
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons diced white onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste
10-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend of your choice
Butter for frying quesadillas
Garnishes: sour cream and/or salsa verde cruda


First, roast the acorn squash. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly oil a baking sheet. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds (you can save them to toast later, if you wish) and cut each half into half-inch slices. Lay them on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until soft but not cooked to mush. (You’ll finish it in the pan.)

When cool enough to work with, use a paring knife or your hands to peel the skin off each slice. Lightly chop the squash and put it in a bowl.

Saute the onions, garlic and jalapeno in the oil until translucent. Add the poblano strips and cook for a couple minutes more. Add the squash and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, until the squash is tender and the flavors have melded. Season with salt and pepper and take off heat.

Spread a few tablespoons of the cooked squash mixture onto one half of a 10-inch flour tortilla. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of the cheese. Fold over and place in a hot pan with melted butter, and fry until crispy. Cut the finished quesadilla into triangles and top with your choice of garnishes. Eat while warm.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

I was treated to a lovely sunset last night as I left work and went to my car. Sometimes parking on the 9th floor of the parking garage isn’t so bad. You can’t see it in this picture, but I also have a killer view of John Rich’s house from here.


With this semester’s schedule, I’m at school or work until 6:30 or 7 for four out of the five weekdays. That means that dinner often doesn’t get on the table until 8 pm on a good day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are particularly long days, so having a slow-cooker meal more or less ready to go when I get home is definitely a life-saver.

I know it seems a little odd to have a whole chicken show up in my blog right after I’ve said I was giving up meat, but as I explained, I’m trying to eat through the meat we already have. However, one of the things I am NOT going to miss about giving up meat is rinsing, drying, and dealing with the mess of cooking meat. See also: fear of salmonella.

Surprisingly, I had never done a whole chicken in the slow-cooker before. Turns out, it was one of the best chickens I’ve ever made. I went to carve it and pulled the leg right off. Although you don’t get the crispy skin of an oven-roasted chicken, I don’t normally eat the skin anyway, so it wasn’t a big loss. But the meat itself was very tender. I pulled it right off the bone and shredded it.

Crockpot before:


Crockpot after:


I didn’t originally have a plan for the meat, but I was in a mood for Mexican and we had all the fixings, so Joe quickly opted for my suggestion of tacos. An avocado, some fresh corn cut off the cob, a little grated cheese, and some salsa all wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla made a delicious dinner.


Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
adapted source: Lauren’s Kitchen

Since this is more a method than a recipe, I’ll just tell you what I did. Take a whole chicken and rinse with water, inside and outside. Pat with paper towels to dry.

Roll aluminum foil into three 2-inch diameter balls and place in a triangle formation in a 6-qt crockpot. This will keep the chicken from burning where it touches the crockpot.

Pour in a 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water. I added a 1/2 onion, though I don’t know if it really did anything.

Do whatever you do with your roast chicken. I quartered a lemon, squeezed the juice inside the cavity, and stuffed the lemon inside. Then, I rubbed the skin with a little olive oil and some Southwest seasoning. Rest the chicken, breast side up, on the aluminum foil balls, making sure that the chicken isn’t touching the crockpot liner.

Cook for 8 hours on low. Enjoy your delicious, tender roast chicken.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Indian Lentils with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Eggplant

Saturday night, Joe and I stayed in and watched a movie. Unfortunately, I have a knack for wanting to watch depressing and scary documentaries. So we watched The Cove.


I have a pretty thick skin, but I almost didn’t make it through the movie. I had to turn away. There were definitely scenes that will haunt me forever. And it confirmed something that I’ve been thinking and praying about for a while now. The other night, when we went out to eat, I ordered a green chicken curry dish and felt like the chicken added nothing to the dish. In fact, I would’ve preferred either more vegetables or tofu. And after eating it, my body felt heavy and gross. But when I think about not consuming meat, part of me says, “But wait! What about barbecue (brisket and pork), prosciutto, roast chicken, pho, the sausage your mother-in-law brings down from Wisconsin, etc, etc?”

However, knowing what I know about the food industry writ large, animal intelligence, my theological commitments regarding nonviolence and the immanence of God in creation, and paying attention to my body and the way I feel when I eat certain foods, it’s essentially only a matter of time until I begin to abstain from meat. Following the advice of No Meat Athlete, I’m coming up with a plan to do this.

First, I will eat the remaining meat products that we have in our freezer but won’t buy any more for Joe’s and my joint consumption. Second, I will abstain from poultry, which I’m not that crazy about eating anyway and rarely get when we eat out. Third, I will phase out beef. And fourth, I will stop eating pork and pork products. I’m doing this more or less in the order that I like to eat things. For me, prosciutto > chicken breasts. For the time being, I will continue to eat seafood with an aim towards eating sustainable seafood. I don’t eat seafood nearly as often as I eat other meats since it is more expensive, but I feel like I need that to be flexible enough to eat in restaurants and at other people’s houses. Perhaps, eventually, that will fall by the wayside as well.

All this to say that you’ll be seeing a lot more recipes like this Indian Lentils with Spinach, Mushroom, and Eggplant.

Confession: I haven’t really found a way of eating eggplant that I particularly enjoy. I don’t hate it; I just don’t really like it, but we keep getting it in our CSA. Having it blend in with a bunch of other things is the easiest way for me to stomach it, and with all of the other tasty vegetables in here, I don’t mind it nearly as much.

Crockpot Before:


Crockpot After:


Tasty Indian vegetarian magic!


Indian Lentils with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Eggplant
source: Front Burner Blog


  • 1 medium onion, medium diced
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups whole mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 cups lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you don’t want it too spicy!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups fresh spinach


Mix all ingredients except spinach together in a 6 qt slow-cooker. Heat on low for 6 hours or until lentils are al dente. Mix in spinach and close lid of slow-cooker until spinach is wilted. Serve plain as a stew or over brown rice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Candidacy and Curry

Look what came in the mail Friday:


I am now officially a Candidate for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Texas! This is equal parts exciting and terrifying. In January, I’ll take a few days worth of exams, and in April, I’ll have a few more interviews. Unless I fail something, I’ll graduate with my Masters of Divinity in May. Then, in all likelihood, I’ll be ordained to the transitional diaconate in June.

This has all just now started to hit home. When I first started my discernment process, it felt like the end-goal was to get them to let me go to seminary, preferably in the same location where Joe matched for residency. Now that I’m closing in on graduating, it’s like an actual reminder that the end-goal was ordination all along. I even bought my first clericals, which are surprisingly flattering given what I had heard about how hard it is for women to look fashionable in clericals.

And then there’s this curry (how’s THAT for a transition):


I’m on a bit of a vegetarian (except for the fish sauce) curry kick right now. Honestly, I think it has to do with the weather. It’s still warm, but I’m in a fall mood, so spicy curries are just the thing to scratch that itch without being too heavy. I wish I had looked at the original recipe, which called for cinnamon, because while I was eating this, I kept thinking, “This would’ve been really good with some cinnamon.” I thought maybe I was being delusional and was a little too heavily influenced by this Curried Red Lentil Soup, but then I looked up the original recipe which called for cinnamon and cloves. So I’m going to post that version, since it’s the one I wish I had made.

Also, can we agree that peeling and chopping up butternut squash is NOT fun? I was glad that I did that in the morning before I left for school, because if I had to face that task after coming home, I don’t think this curry would’ve been made. Ugh, if I didn’t like squash so much, it wouldn’t be worth it at all. Evelyn suggested baking it for a few minutes, and I also read that microwaving it for a little bit helps with that. I’ve got a lot of CSA squash taking up my kitchen island, so I’ll let you know if that works out next time.

What kitchen prep task do you absolutely hate?

Southeast Asian Squash Curry

source: Gourmet via Bakin’ and Eggs


  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir), divided (I used light coconut milk.)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (2- to 3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups packed) (I used kale.)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted cashews or peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges
  • jasmine brown rice


    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté squash with cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

    Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk from top of can and cook, stirring, until fat starts to separate and look glossy, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

    Add squash, water, cinnamon, cloves, and remaining coconut milk and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook, covered, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce. Sprinkle with cashews or peanuts. Serve over brown rice.

  • Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Our Anniversary Trip

    Hello, yes, I realize it is now mid-late September, and our 2nd anniversary was in June, but I never shared our trip with y’all. Joe gets all the glory on this one since he did the planning, and I just went along for the ride. What made getting away a little more complicated than normal was that I was taking a class that went from 9 am – 2:30 pm on Saturdays, and Joe had to work on Monday. So we needed a quick getaway.

    Fortunately, we heard about a few wineries down off the Natchez Trace and decided to give them a whirl. Amber Falls Winery is the only one open later on weekends, had live music, and encouraged you to bring a picnic, so that was our Saturday night destination. When I got home from class, Joe had picked up cheese, bread, hummus, and other delicious stuff to munch on from Costco, threw our suitcase in the car, and we were on our way down the Natchez Trace.


    After a relatively lengthy drive down the Trace, we arrived at our charming accommodations at Ridgetop Bed & Breakfast in Hampshire, TN. Now, being from Texas, I am accustomed to scenic names that have absolutely nothing to do with their surroundings. For example, Hillcrest Rd has nothing to do with a hill or a crest of a hill. But Ridgetop B&B was, shockingly, located on the top of a ridge. In fact, we wound up a single-lane dirt road through a forest for quite a ways before arriving at the top of said ridge. To say that it was isolated would be an understatement. Above, you can see me standing in front of our one-room cabin. The bed was so tall that I had to use a step stool to get on it.

    We freshened up a bit, unloaded our luggage, and headed out to Amber Falls. Going to Amber Falls Winery is pretty much the only thing to do in Hampshire, TN on a Saturday night, so we saw the other guests from the B&B there as well. We went down the stairs to the tasting room, which was very relaxed. They basically let us try whatever we wanted to. Since Tennesseans are partial to their sweet beverages, a lot of the wines were a bit sweet for our taste, but we bought a few bottles and headed out to one of the many gazebos scattered around and unpacked our picnic. The live music was a duo of guys who sang a lot of songs about Louisiana, which was fine by us. The sun set, and we headed back to our little cabin on the ridge.

    Apparently, people wake up early in Hampshire, TN, so by about 8, we had a knock on our door asking when we might want our breakfast. We quickly dressed and went to the main house for breakfast. We were hoping to visit Keg Springs Winery, which didn’t open until noon. So after breakfast, we went on a hike around the property of the B&B in search of an alleged waterfall. We walked down into this creek bed…


    And then around, but I’m not sure we ever found the waterfall. It was quite pretty though! By the time that adventure was finished, we were ready for some more wine.


    Ahhh, that’s more like it. Keg Springs had the best wine of the three wineries we visited. They also had a very nice patio that we had all to ourselves. Unfortunately, it started raining, which we thought had scuttled our plans for a hike on our way back on the Trace, so we decided to hit the winery trifecta and make our way to Grinder’s Switch. On the way, we stopped by Fall Hollow because we hadn’t gotten our waterfall fix earlier.


    Now THAT’S a waterfall. Due to the May flooding, getting to Grinder’s Switch turned out to be quite the adventure. Let’s just say that, for this city girl and her city husband driving around in a two-door Honda Civic, rural Tennessee can be a somewhat strange and frightening place.


    Finally we arrived, did some tastings, and settled in with our bottle of their Sangiovese in some rocking chairs on the front porch. Though the original plan was to head back to Nashville via the Trace, there was no way that was going to happen, so we drove back by way of I-40, which was not nearly as pretty but was slightly faster. And there concluded our 2nd anniversary weekend of doing the Natchez Trace Wine Trail! Now, if only I could write about trips promptly…

    Where is your favorite local or nearby getaway?

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    A Change is Gonna Come

    Y’all, if I’m bored of my own blog, then you guys must really be falling asleep out there. So I’m going to make a few changes around here, mostly content related. If you’ve noticed, my blog name has three components: cook, pray, and love. In my opinion, it’s been heavy on the cooking and light on the praying and loving. I also want my blog to be a little bit more like the blogs I look forward to reading, and I want to share more of myself with you all.

    I want to talk about what’s on my mind, what I’ve been thinking and praying about, but without getting esoteric or preachy. I want to share what I’m reading, what music I’m listening to, what I’m loving about where I live and what I’m eating and what I’m doing.

    In short, I want to share with you all what it’s like to be me, both in and out of the kitchen: an almost-26 year-old ex-pat Texan, former classical singer, Episcopal seminarian living in Nashville who’s married to a doctor and is a mother to two cats who likes food, drink, music, and the Bible. Don’t worry; this will still be primarily a food blog. It’ll just be a food blog plus some other stuff.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Barley Hoppin' John

    Barley Hoppin' John

    With all of the veggies from our CSA, I often don't have to make much of a trip to the grocery store because my pantry is so well-stocked. Using a combination of vegetables, legumes, and a whole grain, you've got a healthy, filling, and cheap meal that will also leave you with plenty of leftovers. That combination can go anywhere from Indian to Mexican to Southern depending on the spices. We added a touch of Louisiana hot sauce to this just to kick it up a bit. The barley, used as a substitute for the more traditional rice, ups the fiber content and the nutty flavor.

    The original recipe calls for quick-cooking barley, but I just soaked regular barley overnight in order to cut down the cooking time. You could also add more vegetables if you'd like; an extra bell pepper or some diced carrots would go with this dish perfectly.

    Barley Hoppin' John
    Yields 4 servings


    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    2 stalks celery, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
    1 cup quick-cooking barley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed


    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add broth, barley, thyme, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the barley is done, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in black-eyed peas. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Curried Red Lentil Soup

    Curried Red Lentil Soup

    You should really wish that your computer screen had Smell-O-Vision because this soup smells divine, and it just so happens to be the perfect bridge food for fall. The ginger and cinnamon remind me of the upcoming pumpkin treats to be had, but it's also light and healthy. This is the kind of food that, when you're heating up the leftovers, everyone will poke their heads in to see what you're eating. I can guarantee that I'll continue making this all throughout the fall and winter because it's so comforting to both body and spirit.

    Red lentils might be a little difficult to find, but I found some in a bag in the health/natural foods section of the store. They're so good that I might need to make a trip to Whole Foods to buy some in bulk though.

    Curried Red Lentil Soup
    Yields 6 servings


    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1 large onion,chopped
    3 cloves garlic,minced
    2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
    1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
    1 teaspoons cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 bay leaves
    1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
    8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons mango chutney
    Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt


    Heat oil in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, jalapeno, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes longer.

    Stir in lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

    Discard bay leaves. Stir in cilantro (or parsley), lemon juice and chutney. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with yogurt.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Vegetarian Fajita Pasta

    Vegetarian Fajita Pasta

    Things have been a little crazy around the Cook, Pray, Love kitchen for the past few weeks. I went back to school, took a trip to Texas for my candidacy interviews (which I passed and am now a candidate for Holy Orders), and just haven't been very inspired by food. It always takes me a few weeks to readjust, and my energy level has been seriously low. Then, this weekend came. On Saturday, I woke up to a beautiful, clear, cool fall morning. I threw open the sliding glass door and set to re-organizing the kitchen. I hadn't moved anything since we moved in a year ago, and the kitchen had a bunch of space that wasn't being used effectively. I cleared off counters, organized glasses and drawers, and threw away the phone books that were taking up the top of our refrigerator. A trip to Target yielded a pot lid rack and a new dishrack. Finally, I was feeling like I wanted to get back in the kitchen.

    A plethora of pasta and peppers led me to this dish. It's very conducive to whatever vegetables you have (or don't have) on hand. I would've thrown some Asian eggplant in there, but the pan was already full to overflowing. This is spicy, flavorful, and makes a ton of leftovers. It would also be great for sharing at a potluck. The amounts I used are reflected below.

    Vegetarian Fajita Pasta
    adapted from: Veggie by Season

    1 lb. macaroni or penne
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1 onion, sliced
    8 oz. sliced mushrooms
    1 summer squash, sliced
    1 red bell peppers, sliced
    2 green pepper, sliced
    2 jalapeno, sliced
    Salt and Pepper
    1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
    2 tsp. chili powder
    4 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1 tsp. smoked paprika
    1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
    Chopped cilantro, Sour Cream or Guacamole for garnish (optional)

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt heavily, cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
    Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, onion, and garlic. Sautee veggies for 10-15 minutes, until they’re tender. Season with salt and pepper.
    Add tomatoes, black beans, spices and pasta. Stir to combine.
    Pour into a casserole dish and top with cheese.
    Bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and pasta is bubbly.
    Plate and serve with garnishes.