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I love working with my hands and using my creativity. I post my photography, interior decorating, recipes, furniture restorations, and ideas I have for future projects. Don't be a stranger!

Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

A posted a recipe for fajita quesadillas a few months ago.  I really enjoy making (and eating) those but I wanted to try something different today.  Instead of onions and peppers, I decided to make the quesadillas with black beans and corn.  They turned out really good!
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Here’s how you make them!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chicken
  • flour tortillas (I use 10 inch tortillas)
  • shredded cheese (I used colby cheddar)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • butter for frying pan

Directions

  • Poach chicken for ~10 minutes or until fully cooked.  Remove chicken from pot and shred using two forks.  Set aside.
  • Drain and rinse black beans.  Then drain corn.  Add corn, chicken, taco seasoning, and black beans to a frying pan.  Cook on medium high until all ingredients are hot and a bit more cooked through like shown below.  This also helps burn off some of the water left over from rinsing. img_3041
  • In a separate frying pan, melt a bit of butter.  Add 1 tortilla over the butter then add cheese and as much of the bean/corn/chicken mixture as you’d like.  Then add second tortilla over top.
  • Once the bottom of the first tortilla starts to brown, flip the quesadilla over to cook the bottom (I put a plate over the pan and then quickly flip the quesadilla on to the plate.  Then I push the quesadilla back on the pan.  This helps avoid spillage which happens to me if I try to flip using a spatula).
  • Once the bottom of the second tortilla starts to brown, remove from heat, transfer to plate, and cut it in to 4 even piece.
  • Add toppings (salsa, green onions, guacamole, sour cream, etc.) to your liking.

Enjoy!

52 Week Photography Challenge

Anyone else participating in the 52 week photo challenge hosted by Dogwood Photography?  It started at the beginning of 2017 but don’t worry if you missed a few weeks.  If you’re interested, go ahead and jump right in!

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Each week focuses on a different theme designed to improve your photography skills.  You can find the full article and a list of weekly themes here on the 52 Week Photo Challenge website.

Themes so far this year have been:

  1. Rule of thirds
  2. Straight out of the lens (no photo editing)
  3. Artistic landscape
  4. Tell a story using a mirror
  5. Take 10 pictures of the same object from different angles, distance, etc.

If you decide to participate, I’d love to see some of your pictures!  My week 1-4 pictures are posted above.

Happy picture taking.

 

 

Chicken and Veggie Wrap

I made these chicken and vegetable wraps for lunch today.  It’s a great recipe if you’re looking for something low carb or healthy.

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Ingredients (enough to make 4 wraps)

  • Low carb whole grain flatbread.  I find these in the bakery section of the grocery store.  Or you can use tortillas.
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup per wrap)
  • 1 pound of chicken breast
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 of a white or red onion, sliced
  • 2 shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Chicken Grilling Blend)
  • Lettuce (or spinach leaves)
  • Diced tomato (optional)
  • Dijon mustard (or a different condiment of your choosing – ranch, mayo, etc.)

Directions

  • Poach chicken for ~10 minutes until cooked through.  Remove chicken from pot and shred it using two forks.  In a warm skillet, toss chicken with chicken seasoning and keep warm while assembling wrap.
  • Spread dijon mustard on flatbread.  Add peppers and onions, lettuce, cheese, carrot, tomato, and chicken.
  • Roll the flatbread tightly and place on a plate.  Cut it diagonally and serve with sun chips, fruit, or yogurt.

We really enjoyed these.  They are filling and delicious!

I hope you enjoy them too.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter

We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, so I thought I’d make some cookies to bring.  I decided to try the peanut butter cookies that my mom made for Christmas and I also used my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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For the chocolate chip cookies, I used a recipe I found on Marsha’s Baking Addition.  I img_2907_croppedfound this recipe about two years ago and it’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve used since.  I like it because it makes 15-18 cookies and therefore I can whip up a batch real quickly.  They also have a secret ingredient (corn starch) that makes the cookies soft in the middle.  Everyone who tries them asks for the recipe.

I have to keep my cookies in the oven for the full 13 minutes and I also don’t bother with refrigerating them before baking.  I find that they’re plenty thick without it.

 

 

For the peanut butter cookies, I used a recipe from Rachel Schultz.  I don’t usually make img_2908_croppedpeanut butter cookies, but I really liked the ones my mom made so I wanted to make them too.  I like that they have a bit of a grainy quality to them. I’m not sure how they get like that – I think maybe this recipe calls for a bit more peanut butter than others.  I followed the recipe as written on her website except I have to keep my cookies in the oven for 11 minutes.  For the peanut butter, I used the Bee’s Knees which is a flavor made by the Peanut Butter & Co.  It’s organic (which I’ve heard isn’t ideal for making cookies), but they still turned out great.

I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned for tonight. Happy New Year!

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Christmas Delights

I hope the holidays are going well for you so far.  For Christmas, I made a few items I thought I’d share with you.

The first is pillow cheesecake that was inspired by this one from Tartelette. img_2898-copyInstead of their chocolate shortbread crust, I made a traditional crust (2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, 5 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, mix and press to the bottom of a 10 inch spring form and bake for 8-10 minute at 350F).  I also did not use the caramel sauce.  I have used it previously, but I just didn’t want to mess with it this time.  I followed the directions for the cheesecake batter as written on the Tartelette blog except I think I cooked it an hour and a half at 350F instead of 325F.  I added chocolate and raspberries on top of a few slices, but the cheesecake is amazing served plain as well.  In fact, I think that’s how I prefer it.  If you like cheesecake, I recommend giving this recipe a try.

img_2837_copyThe next thing I made are these ranch oyster crackers which are a holiday tradition.  They’re super easy to make and most people to enjoy them.  I used this recipe posted on All Recipes website.  I did not use the lemon pepper or garlic powder which are optional ingredients. I put the crackers in a large mason jar and  I added a Christmas tag and twine to make it look more festive.

img_2842-copyNext, I made two loaves of zucchini bread following this recipe I posted on my blog last year.  After they cooled, I wrapped each loaf in plastic wrap and tied twine and a Christmas tag around them.

My mom made peanut butter cookies for my family’s Christmas but she had to make a second batch because she and my dad ate the original before everyone came over.  My mother-in-law made some really amazing spinach dip that had bacon in it.

Which holiday recipe does your family enjoy the most?

 

 

2017 Calendar

I’ve finally decided on the pictures I want to use for my 2017 calendar.

All pictures were taken by me in 2016 and here’s a description of each:

  • January – this picture was taken outside of our house after a snowstorm last winter
  • February -this was taken in February when I was out for a walk
  • March – this was at a local garden on a warmer winter day last winter
  • April – This is a neighbors tree.  I sat down under the tree and pointed my camera upward toward the sky
  • May – This was taken at the local garden one weekend morning
  • June – Also taken at the local garden (I guess I go there a lot!)
  • July & August – Also taken at the local garden (yikes!)
  • September – At a local university
  • October – My front porch after it was decorated for fall
  • November – this is a bush we have in our yard that turns red when the leaves start to fall.
  •  December – I took this when I was out for a walk on a warmer day last winter.

I used a fixed 50mm f/1.4 lens for all of the pictures except for January.  For January, I used a 18-55mm f/5.6 lens.  My camera is a Canon Rebel T3i.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Crock Pot Beef & Vegetable Soup

Hi All!  Today I made a family recipe for beef and vegetable soup.  It turned out great and was perfect for a cold, rainy day.

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Ingredients
– 2 pounds of bottom round cut beef.  Top round and English roast also work.
– 12 oz. can of tomato sauce
– Small bag of frozen mixed vegetables (mine had peas, corn, carrots, and green beans)
– 3/4 cup of frozen lima beans (optional)
– 4 to 5 stalks of celery, cut in to small slices
– 3 to 4 red potatoes, cut in to chunks
– 1 beef bouillon cube
– 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
– 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
– 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– water

Directions
– The night before, rinse the beef and put in crock pot.  Pour cold water in to crock pot over the beef until it is just covered.  Cook on low overnight.
– In the morning, remove the beef from the crock pot.  Using two forks, shred the beef.  Discard any fat.
– Keep the water that’s left over in the crock pot because this is the start of your broth.  Add the beef bouillon cube, tomato sauce, and the spices/seasoning to the crock pot. Stir.
– Add the beef and vegetables to the crock pot and stir until ingredients are mixed.  Cook on low all day (8-10 hours) or on high 4-6 hours.

I served the soup with yummy cinnamon muffins straight from the oven.

Enjoy!

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