Snowed In!

This past week my kids have had a 6 days in a row without school (only 2 were actually snow days) and they’d just returned from the winter holiday break and had a snow day the week before.  In the morning I will find out if it will be 7 days in a row.  Luckily the inability to get to school has also turned our town into winter wonderland and without having to travel, the kids have had a blast sledding, making snow forts and just playing in the more than 2 feet of snow.   If they stay inside too long they drive me and themselves crazy.  Snow is such a great draw to play outside; it’s much more fun than rain! 

When the first big snowfall of the year was falling I made a simple, quick yet delicious and nutritious meal using leftover roast chicken.  We had chicken quesadillas, broccoli and cauliflower, brown and red rice, black beans and peas.  Since the rice was left over from a previous meal it took only 10 minutes to cook/assemble the whole dinner. 

I used pre-shredded cheese (Cheddar, pepper Jack and Muenster), chicken and chopped cilantro in the tortilla.  My husband showed me how the Mexican cooks he works with cook their quesadillas by putting the filling inside one half then folding the tortilla over it.  I think it’s easier to flip.  Once they’ve browned nicely and the cheese is melted you can cut into pieces and serve.  I didn’t have any avocados for guacamole (and wasn’t going out in the snow) but did have some jarred salsa.  I only had to heat the peas and beans (added oregano, 1/4 tsp chili powder, some chopped cilantro and garlic powder) and reheat the other veggies and rice. 

The kids loved it and it was so little effort.

Funny thing about peas…My middle son said he had to “turn the plate around for the peas express” so it was easier to scoop up.  My youngest said when he saw the plate, “I don’t want any. I don’t like them!”  I just reminded him that peas are in snow peas and sugar snaps, which he loves, so he tried some. Minutes later when he’d finished all the peas on his plate, “Can I have some more?” 

Black Bean Salad

My eldest son loves black beans.  Whenever I make tacos they must have black beans, though refried pintos will suffice in a pinch.  I buy mostly canned beans as I find my timing is such that bean cooking is not in my schedule.  I will try when things get back to more of a routine once school begins, but in the meantime I use organic canned beans.  I never thought I’d be making bread routinely before I found this recipe, so things can actually change. 

Well, summer is the season for salads and a favorite is this black bean and corn one that my husband taught me to make.  I use avocados if they’re in stock (at home) but it does fine without. 


Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad

one can of black beans

2-3 cobs of corn cooked (you can use fresh uncooked corn, but I prefer cooked)

one large tomato or several smaller ones (I used a small handful of orange cherry tomatoes and a half of a small red tomato) chopped

one avocado chopped

1/4-1/2 of one Serrano, Habanero or Jalapeño pepper minced (Habanero gives nice kick and sweetness but it is very hot and you should be careful with the kids)

handful of fresh cilantro chopped

1/2 green onion (scallion) chopped

1/4 red onion diced

one lime

sea salt and ground pepper to taste


1/2 tsp cumin

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

about 1/2 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove


Mix together the beans, corn off the cob, tomatoes, green onion and red onion then squeeze half the lime over it.  Add the hot pepper in small amounts and taste to your heat preference. The pepper should be very tiny pieces so that it doesn’t overpower the other flavors by its heat.  I sometimes divide my salads and salsas into two bowls when adding hot pepper so that the kids get less and adults get more pepper.  Add avocado last since it’s delicate.  Put in fridge while you prepare dressing or make dressing first. 

FYI: The proper ratio of oil to vinegar in dressing is 3 to 1.  I used a mini food processor but you can use a blender or immersion blender.  Put in peeled garlic clove, cumin (toast it if you have a moment), juice of other half of lime and vinegar.  Chop, blend, etc.  then add olive oil through top hole while on (slowly if using another machine) until its got a thick consistency and its taste maintains the sharpness of the vinegar.  Use as much as needed to give a nice coating to salad.  You can always keep the rest for another salad.  Serve chilled or room temperature. 


This salad can be used as a dip with chips, served with grilled chicken (a favorite for backyard parties), grilled shrimp or on its own.  I also discovered a new way just yesterday at lunch.  Served on top of a quesadilla with shredded lettuce and salsa.  Yum!  The boys were eating cheese quesadillas with Cabot’s Seriously Sharp cheddar cheese and I made one for myself with Cabot’s Hot Habanero cheddar for an extra kick. My eldest tried it (spicy quesadilla) with the bean salad on top and liked it.  Love finding new foods to make that they like.