Category Archives: Favs

Chicken Taco Hashbrown Casserole

Chicken Taco Hashbrown Casserole 

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If you want extreme comfort food to the max, coupled with doritos, breakfast, mexican food and dinner all in one dish, you’ve found yourself a winner. This meal is born to satisfy and bound to please the entire family. It is amazing.

If you have yet to find your happy place today, land on this meal and be prepared to be wowed. Sometimes we need a little extra lovin’ in the winter. Our hips and thighs will thank you for keeping them extra warm. Okay, this meal is not that unhealthy for you. Though it sounds and looks utterly unhealthy, you will be surprised! :)

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz hashbrowns
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled

In a greased 4 quart casserole dish, layer hashbrowns, garlic salt, pepper, salt and green pepper.

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Toss with cheddar cheese and cottage cheese. Stir well.

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Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, add chicken, paprika, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes and green chilies. Add in about 1/2 cup water and once the liquid is absorbed and heated through, remove from heat.

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Top hasbrown mixture with chicken mixture.

Crumble chips into large chuncks and spread on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hashbrowns are cooked. 5 minutes before it’s done, top with cheese and allow to melt.

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Top with onions, tomatoes and even more crushed doritos. :)

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole

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Have you ever enjoyed a good comfort meal full of flavor, creamy and deliciousness? There is nothing more satisfying than a wonderful meal full of comfort especially on a cold, cloudy day.

This meal will forever remind me of post pregnancy and my mom visiting and helping out for two weeks. She made this meal and it was one of the only meals I would/could eat. I was sick as a dog but this cheered my upset tummy to no end. My tummy craved tater tot casserole made from the very hands of my adorable mother.

Not only was this meal great for post pregnancy but my mom was recently in the hospital as well. This meal is the epitome of hospitals and healing, full of comfort. Praise be to God as my mom is doing okay and has high spirits given the situation! Bless her soul.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp minced dried onion
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups fresh green beans (frozen works too)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup**
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 32 ounce tater tots

In a large skillet begin to brown the meat with chopped dried onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

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Stir in chopped onion.

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Cook until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender.

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Turn on low heat and Cream of mushroom soup**

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Mix together well and pour into a greased casserole dish.

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Top with green beans

IMG_6479Sprinkle with cheese and…
IMG_6468Top with tater tots.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min -1 hour. Or until bubbling and tots are golden brown.

IMG_6471Let stand for 15 minutes and serve.

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IMG_6474MMMMMM amazingly comforting and great for healing.

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**If opting out of using the cream of mushroom soup. Follow these instructions:

When it comes to adding the cream of mushroom simply add in

  • 6 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Continue as normal with the remainder of the recipe. :)

Sausage Brie Quiche

Sausage Brie Quiche

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No matter what it is, I LOVE breakfast. I LOVE LOVE breakfast.

Okay, so there’s a couple breakfast places that I frequent and I treat myself to their quiche because I love crust, or anything that has carbs in it for that matter… AND I love breakfast.

Lately, I’ve been craving a good quiche and figured I would make my own for dinner instead. Who says you can’t have quiche for dinner? You can and you should! Boy oh boy oh boy, this is probably my favorite quiche to date. It is soooo tasty my mouth longs for this delicious treat. Anything homemade is well worth the time spent making it.

By the way, the difference between a quiche and a frittata is the crust. It all lies within the crust and though I enjoy myself a good fritatta, I will choose a quiche over a frittata any day simply because of the crust. So why do people call it a “crustless quiche,” I’m not sure to be honest, maybe they want it to sound more appealing than a frittata while making it more complicated for everyone else. Who knows.

Enough said, I think you get the picture and my deep desire for a good crust and good breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Brie Cheese, chopped
  • 1/2 shredded cheese
  • 8 breakfast sausages, cooked and sliced
  • Pie Crust (grandma’s pie crust is the best, I simply half the recipe)

Make crust and lay in the bottom of a greased pie plate. Set aside

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine eggs and half & half. Whisk together for about 1 minute. Add in parsley, salt, paprika and garlic salt. Stir well.

Add in chopped tomatoes, brie and cheese.

Combine sausage and give it a good stir. Poor over crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the middle does not wiggle. :)

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Served with crunchy grapes and a toasted croissant with garlic butter.

Moutwatering Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Mouthwater Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The weekend started promptly with my sister and her beautiful family coming to visit. We had not only the best time and memories spent, but we also enjoyed wonderful food including these pulled pork sandwiches. They were mouthwatering goodness!

While they were here we enjoyed wonderful conversations and time well spent with one another. Times like these make me appreciate family and what it stands for. Family is so crucial and simple gatherings recreate those deep, lasting impressions not only on my heart, but on our children as well.

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We hung out at the very back to consume as much shade as possible (or shall I say, enjoy the port-a-potties). Just kidding…kinda!

IMG_6285-400x300Trace sat up in a tree enjoying the music without any distractions ahead of him. He really enjoyed this experience and I was thankful to be able to participate in this one-hit-wonder with them! :) You know, kids and their first concert experience. What a blessing that they enjoyed the atmosphere and Christian fellowship. 

IMG_6305-e1409694552461-300x400After being there all day in the high heat, I had planned ahead to come home to pulled pork in the crock pot. I thought this would be genius as I know we all would be hungry upon our arrival home and would need something delicious and available very promptly. 

This was the perfect meal to come home to and a perfect meal to feed 8 people. :)  

So lets get into it….

Ingredients:

  • 1- 4 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounce (3 1/2 cups) Barbecue sauce, separated
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Coleslaw
  • Ciabatta Rolls

Sprinkle the bottom of your crock pot with chicken broth, one onion and minced garlic.

Next, rub garlic salt, paprika, chili powder and cumin on the pork shoulder. Place in slow cooker.

Top with second onion and dump 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce upon everything. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours (or high 4-6 hours).

When the pork is cooked remove from slow cooker reserving sauce. Add in 1/2-1 cup additional barbecue sauce and 1 tbsp white vinegar and stir well. Strain sauce to rid of any excess fat.

Meanwhile, pull pork apart with a fork and add to strained sauce. Mix together and top on a toasted Ciabatta roll with coleslaw.

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Such a simple meal and so wonderfully delicious! Nothing beats a pulled pork sandwich.

This is for all you meat lovers out there! :)

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Music in the park tonight, yup that was music not movies. As we continually have this discussion all throughout summer about our movie dates we officially ended the movie phase last week and now have transitioned to music nights.

We decided we would continue our Thursday Date Night Park Night (boy was that a mouthful) with whatever decides to land itself in the park and tonight happens to be music.

I had a light bulb moment today while hashing out picnic ideas to myself and a brilliant idea hit–black bean burgers with a titch of spice. Before I get started, I must confess that this idea came to me only, I repeat only because I just made black beans last night. What was I making black beans for you may ask, I’m not entirely sure, they just sounded scrumptious. There was no heartfelt pondering as to what I should make for our dinner park date but that does not mean love is not genuinely wrapped tightly in my non-heartfelt idea. :)

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First, let me just say that replacing lettuce for fresh green beans was by far the best idea I’ve had to date. I do not know how to express to you this transitional period in my life. Something about the sweet flavor of the beans along with the crunch lettuce holds, brought this sandwich to a WHOLE new level; unexplainable.

Now here are the magical ingredients for my delicious spicy black bean burgers–

Quantity = 4 burgers

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Ciabatta Buns
  • 2 Cups Black Beans
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Green Beans, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Palm full Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 TSP Sea Salt
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 4 Slices of Cheese

Toppings:

  • Spicy Spread (optional)
  • Fresh Green Beans (replacement for lettuce)
  • Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine oil, eggs, garlic, sea salt and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix well.

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Add in black beans, quinoa, green beans, tomatoes and cilantro.

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Add in cheese.

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Use a 1 cup measuring cup and scoop onto a cookie sheet. Pat down to make flat.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and top with cheese slices.

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Return to oven and heat until melted; 1-2 minutes.IMG_6705

Lets just say that the blue cheese crumbles melted within this giant black bean burger is to die for. You do not want to opt out of using blue cheese crumbles as this adds lots of flavor and pairs perfectly with the spicy spread.

Top your buns with a black bean burger, a large dollop of spicy spread, green beans and tomatoes. If you love the spicy spread as much as we do, fill each side of your bun with it as well. :)

IMG_6713This meal will knock your socks off guaranteed. Holy smokes you may want to call the fire department, it’s that sizzling good.

Shrimp & Mushroom Cream Sauce

WHATS FOR DINNER TONIGHT??? Shrimp and mushrooms in a tomato bisque cream sauce. Oh-My-Goodness!!!!

This 30 minute meal is filled with sweet, spicy and everything nice. It’s beyond incredible that I can’t even begin to explain the awesomeness of this recipe. Something about the slightly tender mushrooms, perfect shrimp and the flavors of the sauce combined gives this dish something to rant and rave about.

This is in my favorites section as I personally rate this meal a 5 star! No words can describe this meal until tasted on your lips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1-16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 palm-full fresh basil, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • Rice or Pasta

Chop onions and begin to cook on med-low heat with 1 tsp sugar and EVOO to start caramelize the onions.

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Once onions begin to cook and start to caramelize, add in mushrooms, minced garlic, tomatoes and basil.

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Once mushrooms are tender, add in raw shrimp and turn heat to low. Allow the shrimp to cook slowly until fully pink.

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Turn off heat and add in sour cream and cream cheese.

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Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and sriracha sauce. Pour into skillet.

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Give it a good stir.

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Serve over rice….

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Or pasta.

IMG_5076This meal has by far the best flavor known to man! :) It’s so scrumptious. I literally can’t get enough of this meal!

 

Chicken Avocado Spring Rolls

Vietnamese rice paper rolls are healthy and oh so delicious. They will forever remind me of visiting my sister when she worked in the seminary building at Multnomah University. I used to go visit her all the time and we would go get these Rice Paper Wraps for lunch dates and we absolutely loved them. The great thing with Vietnamese food is it also fills you up. Long gone are the days of visiting my sister at work but new are the days for lunch dates with homemade Chicken avocado spring rolls. :)

Ingredients:

  • Rice Paper
  • Chicken, shredded
  • Rice, cooked
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Soy, teriyaki or sweet chili sauce

Fully submerge rice paper in lukewarm water for a good 30 seconds or until soft, sticky and pliable. Using a plate works just great. Transfer to a dry surface.

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I used my cutting board and stretched out the rice paper to compile vegetables on.

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Layer rice, chicken, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, basil and avocado.

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Fold up the short ends as you would a burrito and than roll tightly from one end to the next.

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Dip your spring rolls in teriyaki sauce, soy sauce or sweet chili sauce. 
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Serve with Roasted Cabbage as a side. Yummy yum yum! This meal is one of my favorites.

English Muffin Bread

***UPDATED***

This is my ‘go to’ recipe. No fail, no harm, simply easy and simply delicious.

This recipe makes 4 loaves and it freezes spectacularly. I usually freeze two at a time although currently my freezer is stuffed to the brim. Literally packed full. I am beginning to wonder how to gain more space. The talk of purchasing a small freezer has been the topic of discussion lately. I freeze quite a bit of items including: turkey broth, pumpkin puree, leftover soups and lentils, meat, leftover chicken potpie, bread and much more. It allows for great meal ideas, healthier options by making your own broths and purees and good news is… they are on hand at all times.

I believe keeping the freezer and pantry stocked allows for meal plans to spread out for up to two weeks. I grocery shop one big trip every two weeks. I will return to the store for produce and perishables. Other than that my I am able to stay on budget very well. It’s taken some time for me to figure out the best way to avoid the store on a frequent basis as well as spending the least amount of money while still cooking and baking without purchasing premade foods. I’ve found it works very successfully.

First I write out my meal plans, than go back through and write down ingredients that I don’t have on hand or am low on. Second, I constantly monitor what is on hand and close to running out as I like to keep stocks in the pantry of salad dressings, beans, pasta, flour, sugar, etc. This allows for moderations to be made throughout the week on those nights when particular meals don’t hit the spot.

Bread is definitely a must have item. Those sandwiches, toast, and dishes where you need bread as a side do frequent in our house. Also, having bread on hand is great because you don’t have to make it as often, although it’s extremely easy and quick, it allows for more time out of the kitchen by nailing it down in one afternoon. :)

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Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups warm water
  • 6 3/4 tsps yeast (3 packets of yeast)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 11 cups unbleached flour

In a small glass container add yeast and 2 cups water together. Let sit until yeast begins to bubble. (Do not worry about mixing thoroughly)

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Meanwhile, add 6 cups flour, salt and sugar together in a stand mixer using a dough hook. IMG_4383

Add in water and yeast as well as remaining 2 1/2 cups water, begin to mix. Once mixture is beginning to incorporate well, slowly add remaining 5 cups of flour a little at a time. Make sure all flour is intermixed and no lumps are found.

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Once dough is thoroughly mixed, grease 3-4 bread pans any shape or size; grease well! Divide dough equally into pans.

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Cover with a tea towel and let dough rise until dough reaches the top of the pan.

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Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Bush top of bread with melted butter (optional). Then continue baking an additional 10-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Let bread rest 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on wire rack.

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This bread makes the most delicious sandwiches and simple toast with butter or jam!

Bacon Stuffed Chicken

Bacon Stuffed Chicken. Similar to Cordon Blue but way better, I took the initiative to grill this up as I have found a new enjoyment in barbecuing lately. Although there are only so many things you can grill without making chicken more than 3 times in a week the same way, I wanted to take the opportunity to spice it up a bit. I choose to stuff chicken breasts like you would Cordon Blue, but because I had no ham, I turned to bacon, our true friend! :)

The weather was impeccable! While the chicken grilled, Cooper and I would take time to step away and water the garden we’ve been working so hard on.

Still not gathering the concept that once we dug the hole, buried our seeds and recovered the hole, doesn’t mean to uncover the seeds again. Sweet baby makes me laugh. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the attempt to grow our garden together.

After the chicken and garlic covered beans were done, Cooper and I sat on the back porch together enjoying the weather and eating our delicious meal. Michael got home late from work and was so happy to see such an amazing meal in front of him that looked as if I slaved over it for hours. Though it looks complicated, its is extremely easy to prepare and the grill does most the work.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced open
  • 8 pieces of bacon
  • 4 slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Garlic Salt (optional)
  • Paprika (optional)
  • 1 lb Fresh Green Beans
  • EVOO
  • Garlic Salt

Prepare chicken by slicing open leaving one end still connected. Stuff with raw bacon and cheese. To hold shut pin together with three toothpicks. IMG_4168

Season the top of the chicken with garlic salt and paprika.

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Grill until no juices flow clear. Be careful not to over cook.

 

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Eating dinner with mama on the back porch on a beautiful evening.

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Cooper still hating the fact I take pictures all the time

Serve with fresh grilled green beans!

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Enjoy!

Chicken Quesadilla

Okay so this is NOT your ordinary quesadilla. It’s down right delicious and we couldn’t stop eating them. They are SO delightful and filled our hungry tummies last night when we got home from “shopping.” I use that word lightly as when shopping with a toddler and a husband who hates malls is never an enjoyable experience. Shopping to me is beyond enjoyable and I could shop most everyday. But lets be honest, I rarely shop these days as Cooper becomes quite the terror running all around, pulling hangers from the rack, and hiding below so I get that panicked feeling that those 2 seconds I blinked, he disappeared. He is quite the runner now-a-days that I can’t even blink while out and about with him.

Last night we were at Nordstrom shopping for some new clothing for my husband and definitely new shoes as his are letting water in and getting his little tootsies soaked to the bone. I couldn’t figure out if this statement was actually true as we waded through puddles to get indoors or if it was an excuse for new kicks. :) (If you live in Portland, you know we are far from a drought!)

We scored fabulous deals and he got lots of goodies for a reasonable price. He hates shopping and decided to get anything and everything at once so he could be done. He didn’t try on anything as for the most part, we are good at guess-timating his size. We returned home around 7:30 and had to feed Coop real quick and get the sick boy off to bed.

I premade the vegetable mix knowing we were going to be out later. This helped the dinner progress a lot faster. I pulled out our griddle and was able to make 5-6 halves at a time in the midst of all the chaos.

We ate quickly as by 8pm our tummies were grumbling beyond belief.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 ½ cup cooked chicken, diced
  • ½ can diced chilies
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp flour, cornstarch (for thickening)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (I use the mini peppers and do a combination of red, yellow and orange)
  • 1 small onion, chopped

Cook chicken until no longer pink. Season as desired. Set aside.

Chop peppers and onions and begin to sauté over medium-low heat. Once tender, add in cooked chicken and chilies.

Add 1 tbsp flour and mix well to coat all the vegetables and chicken.

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Add in chicken broth and let simmer until it thickens. Roughly 3 minutes.

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Add in black beans and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

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On a griddle fill each tortilla with mixture and hold over. Let cook until light brown and crispy. Rotate sides and crisp up both sides.  

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Serve with salsa, sour cream and avocados.

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Enjoy! Probably the best quesadillas I’ve ever made!