{Vegetarian} Brunch Tostadas

You guyyyyyys. I know, I’m always like, oh this is the best recipe ever and you just have to try it. But seriously, it is the best freakin’ recipe ever!!!!!!! I am obsessed with Mexican flavors in case you haven’t noticed by now. (Click on every word in the previous sentence to find my favorite Mexican inspired dishes!)


I am always trying to come up with different ways to use my favorite ingredients in new recipes and this one is a blue ribbon winner dear friends!


Also, it could NOT be any easier. Warm the tostada shells in the oven while you saute onion and garlic with your beans and some spices. Fry a couple eggs and garnish with cotija cheese and pico de gallo and you’re brunching like a rockstar!


It’s easy enough that you could actually probably swing it on a weekday morning too. But it might be best enjoyed on a sunny, slow Saturday morning out on the deck with a big cold brew decaf caramel latte. Keep your eyes peeled for that latte recipe coming soon!


It’s time to brunch bishes.

{Vegetarian} Brunch Tostadas

  • Servings: 6
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  • 6 tostada shells
  • 8 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon diced chiles in adobo
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread tostada shells out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake them for about 2-3 minutes just to warm them through.

While the oven is preheating, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add black beans, red beans, cumin, chili powder, chiles in adobo and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Turn heat to low and use a potato masher to mash beans. Mash until about half are mashed and half are still whole. Turn heat off, but leave pan on the burner to stay warm while you prepare the other components of the dish.

Fry eggs in batches by heating olive oil a large saute pan over medium heat. Use 1 teaspoon of oil for each egg. Crack them into the oil, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute, uncovered. Turn heat to low and cover pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Cook remaining eggs in the same fashion.

To assemble tostadads, divide bean mixture between shells, spreading it in an even layer. Then add fried egg, a heaping tablespoon of cotija, a heaping tablespoon of pico and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!

Lemon and Dill Goat Cheese Bites (3)

Spinach Manicotti with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Let’s talk about the five main food groups. Carbs, cheese, sauce, wine and dessert. Pair this delicious manicotti with a big glass of wine and you’ve got 4 out of the 5 covered! My husband always jokes that the only thing I ever want to eat is bread, sauce and cheese. And he’s not wrong. Pizza is my one true love and melted brie with fig jam and sliced French baguette is a close second. I mean I do eat plenty of fruits and veggies and I love a nice big salad loaded with all kinds of toppings, but if I’m going to indulge, I’m having some kinda of carb topped with lots of sauce and lots of cheese. And this is my indulgence for the week.


I can guarantee this will quickly become one of your family’s favorite meals. My toddler gobbled this stuff up. Like I think she ate two whole manicotti by herself. With a fork ya’ll. She’s getting so big.


Have you tried baking uncooked noodles in sauce before? I remember the first time I ever heard of such a thing. It was a few years ago now. I was diving head first into a pan of my mother-in-law’s lasagna and when I came up for air she told me she did not boil the noodles before she baked the lasagna. Whaaaaa?????? I could NOT believe it. It was definitely an “aha” moment for me and I’ve never boiled a lasagna noodle since.


I find that the lasagna (and manicotti in this case) holds together better when the noodles are not boiled before baking. I’m sure it has something to do with the starches being released during the cooking process or something. But I’m not into all that science stuff. That’s what I’m not much of a baker. Too much science and exact measurements.

Spinach Manicotti with Sausage and Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 8
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  • 5 cups of my Secret Family Recipe Spaghetti Sauce (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 (16 oz.) box of uncooked manicotti noodles
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz.) container park skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley + more for garnish
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine chopped spinach, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 cups mozzarella, parsley, egg yolks, a large pinch of pepper and a couple large pinches of salt. Transfer to a piping bag (a gallon Ziploc baggy works well too).

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cut the tip off your piping bag about the width of the mancotti noodles. You’ll want a large opening so you can easily pipe the filling into the noodles. No need to cook them before you bake. They will do their magic in the oven and hold together much better. Pipe the filling into one end of the noodle, then flip the noodle and fill the other side. This technique will ensure that the entire inside of the noodle is filled. I was able to fill all 14 noodles.

Place filled manicotti in the baking dish so they are touching but not too smooshed together as they will expand during the cooking process. Pour remaining sauce in an even layer on top of the noodles. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over top of the noodles and bake for another 5 minutes uncovered. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (7)

Garlic and Ginger Foil Baked Salmon with Pickled Veggies

What a difference a year makes! This time last summer we were dealing with a newly walking nearly one year old. We pretty much went wherever and did whatever and she was along for the ride. She sat in a high chair when we went out to dinner and she was just starting to say things like “mama” and “dada”. We went to the playground and she could pretty much only swing in the baby swings. Everything else was out of reach. Towards the end of summer, music in the park became a game of toddler tag with my husband and I taking turns following her around as she waddled from one group to the next, saying “hi” to everyone she met and stopping to pet each and every dog.


This year it’s a whole new ball game! Our nearly two year old is cray, for real. Summer has barely begun and I’m already anticipating having the endurance similar to that of a marathon runner by the time it’s over. She has three speeds; running full bore, sleeping and watching Moana. She is very boisterous and quick to let you know if she does not approve of something, usually with a loud shrill cry or scream. She talks constantly, mostly words we can understand, some that we can’t. She’s started to string phrases together which blows my mind every time. She repeats every single thing you say, especially when you swear quietly under your breath. Which let’s face it, is hilarious. She gives giant bear hugs and has gotten a little stingy with the smooches as of late.


The other day I found my husband in the living room with tears streaming down his face; he was sitting next to her on the ottoman and he had bent down to tie his shoes when she laid her hand and head on his back and said “I love daddy”. If that doesn’t make you cry, I don’t know what will.


Nowadays, a trip to the playground could tire even the most seasoned and in shape parents. And we are neither seasoned, nor in shape so we often hope beyond hope that she wants to nap when we get home so we have a moment to recharge too. But I would not have it any other way. It’s so amazing to watch this tiny baby grow in a little person with thoughts and ideas and a personality. It’s crazy to think that 2 years ago we didn’t even know her. I feel so lucky everyday to be this girl’s momma. Even the days that are filled with grumpy, teething, crying and sassing. Because when I look back on these last two years all I think about is the good stuff. The groggy morning snuggles, the eskimo kisses, those big dimples every time she smiles, the way she grabs my hand when we are walking, when her eyes meet mine looking for approval when she knows she’s doing something good, her adorable little chubby legged run. For me, that’s what this life is about. Those moments that make you want to cry you’re so happy. And my beautiful baby girl gives me those moments every single day.


So, how am I going to tie this delicious salmon recipe into my sappy blog post? Well, if you want to spend more time making those moments where you’re so happy you could cry, this super simple recipe is for you! With very little active prep/cook time, this recipe is a healthy meal you can feel proud to feed your family, but you won’t have to miss out on all the little moments to get it done!


Garlic & Ginger Foil Baked Salmon with Pickled Veggies

  • Servings: 4
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For the salmon:

  • 1 pound salmon, cut into 4 fillets
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • For garnish: 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

For the pickled veggies:

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 small cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, very thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger


Gotta get those veggies pickled first! Add thinly sliced veggies to a 32 oz. mason jar. The veggies should nearly fill the entire jar and be packed in tightly (but not smashed). Add garlic and ginger on top of the veggies in the jar. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, then pour hot pickling liquid into the jar. Fill nearly to the top. Screw the lid on and let come to room temp on the counter. Then refrigerate for about 24 hours.

*If you are in hurry, you could just let the veggies pickle for at least 4 hours, but the longer they pickle the more flavorful they will be. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk tamari, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and agave. Place salmon (skin side down) onto a large piece of foil, big enough to make a sealed packet around the salmon. Pour sauce slowly over the salmon. Seal the foil packet. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. You could also cook this over medium high heat on a grill. Be sure to check the fish around the 10 minute mark though as all grills cook a little differently.

Serve salmon alongside a heaping pile of pickled veggies. Garnish with cilantro. Rice or noodles go well with this meal also.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (6)