Beef & Udon Noodle Soup

7 Apr

A little late getting this post up, but I’ve been doing my best to stick to my “make two new recipes every month” resolution. Last month, I made straight-ahead dense chocolate brownies for the first time (and homigad. So good.) and this fragrant, healthy, simply made soup. I got a great piece of blade roast from our butcher that was juicy and tender after 8 hours in the slow cooker. The lemongrass and ginger were fantastically aromatic, lending a lot of flavour to the broth. As always, I added hot sauce to my own bowl which rounded out the dish beautifully. It’s cold and dreary in Toronto this week – this recipe is perfect to ward off the fake-spring blues!

Ingredients

1.5lbs of blade pot roast
3c low-sodium beef broth
5 thin slices of fresh ginger
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, bruised and sliced crosswise
1 ts each, salt and pepper
3 packages udon noodles
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 sweet pepper, cut into matchsticks
1tb fish sauce
1 lime, juiced

Directions

1. Place the broth, 4 cups of water, ginger, lemongrass and salt and pepper into the slow cooker. Submerge the roast, cover and set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours.
2. When ready, remove the beef with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and shred with two forks.
3. Skim as much of the fat off the top of the soup as possible, then add the carrots, peppers and noodles into the broth. Replace the lid and set the slow cooker to high for 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minutes are up, return the shredded beef to the broth. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and give it a stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

soup

Picture credit to Canadian Living.

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Tomato Lentil Coconut Soup

25 Jan

My 2016 resolution is to make at least two new recipes every month. I felt like I’d fallen into a rut, making the same five or six dinners over and over. I needed some motivation to try my hand at something new that would be enjoyed by everyone at the table. Soup is kind of perfect for this sort of challenge: it’s an easy, diverse, hearty option that can be anywhere between light and brothy or heavy and creamy. Wherever it may fall on that spectrum, it has got to be satisfying and the one I made this weekend was fantastic. It only took 30 minutes from start to finish – there really isn’t much prep at all. The flavour definitely improved overnight, so I’d recommend making the soup the night before and enjoying it the next day.

The recipe calls for butter but if you happen to be looking for a vegan recipe, you could certainly substitute the butter for oil.

Ingredients

1 tb butter
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ts  coriander
1 ts fresh ginger, grated
1 cup red lentils
1 can coconut milk
2 c water
1 796ml can diced tomatoes
2 ts honey
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat and toss in the onions. Cook til soft, roughly 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
2. Add in the garlic, coriander and ginger. Sauté til aromatic, 1 minute.
3. Pour in the lentils, coconut milk and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are very soft.
4. Remove from the heat. Add in the tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper and blend . (I used my immersion blender, but you can certainly pour it all directly into a blender.)
5. Season to taste!

soup

Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

12 Oct

Every time the seasons change, I start hunting for new recipes. Anything I can toss in the slow cooker in the morning and have ready for dinner in the evening shoots straight to the top of my to-try list. When I came across a burrito bowl recipe from The Kitchn, I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit. It’s healthy, it uses ingredients I have in the house already and appeals to the adults and the foodNURDling. We topped the tender chicken, fluffy rice and kernels of corn and black beans with shredded cheese, avocado and hot sauce. You could also add sour cream, salsa and/or cilantro. I let everything cook for 6 hours, but you could certainly go 8 hours if that’s the timing that works for you. Cook up some rice on the stove, top with all the burrito-y goodness and you’re set!

Makes a lot. Unless you’re feeding a football team, you’ll have leftovers.

Ingredients

1-1 1/2lbs chicken thighs or breasts
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chicken stock (plus more for rice)
2 ts chili powder
2 ts salt
1 ts cumin
1 ts pepper
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 c corn
2 c rice
Optional: sliced avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce

Directions
1. Place the chicken, diced tomatoes, stock, chili powder, salt, cumin & pepper in the slow cooker. Ensure the chicken is immersed in the stock/liquid from the tomatoes. Add more stock (or water!) if necessary. Cook on low for 5 1/2 – 7 1/2 hours.
2. When the timer goes off, add in the black beans and corn. Stir everything let it cook for half an hour.
3. In the meantime, cook up the 2 cups of rice (I used jasmine rice, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen). If you’ve got extra stock, use that instead of water. It’s much more flavourful.
4. When the 30 minutes are up (or are close enough to up) remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a couple of forks, taking care to remove any small bones. Toss the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir.
5. Grab some bowls and spoon in some rice, then the chicken, beans and corn with a good helping of the sauce. Top with whatever appeals to you and enjoy!

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Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

3 Jul

This week in Popsicle Mania: strawberry yogurt! These rank a little higher than the mango-lime treats I made last time, but that’s based purely on personal preference. These are creamy and smooth due to the inclusion of vanilla yogurt (for an extra strawberry flavour boost, you could certainly used flavoured yogurt instead, but make sure it’s the pre-mixed kind, like Iögo) and were met with many declarations of, “Yummy!!” from the foodNURDling. Can’t say he’s wrong.

Makes 8.

Ingredients

2 c strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 ts vanilla
1/4 c sugar
1 c vanilla yogurt

IMG_9680

Directions

1. Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the vanilla and sugar. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Pour the yogurt and strawberries (juice included) into a blender. Pulse until smooth.
3. Split evenly among popsicle molds and freeze at least four hours.

strawberry

Mango Lime Popsicles

19 Jun

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, SUMMER!

Alright. Glad to have that out of my system.

I’m a woman who likes to have a project and I tend to have several on the go simultaneously. This summer’s kitchen project? Homemade popsicles. Who doesn’t love a popsicle and who doesn’t love being able to customize them in whatever way they choose? Need something refreshing? Berries and watermelon! Sweet tooth ruling your day? Nutella and banana popsicle to the rescue! Throwing a party? Toss in some Kahlua and you are good to go.

IMG_9616

I started with what I had in my kitchen: mangoes and limes. It was ridiculously easy to prepare these icy treats; the hard part was waiting the four hours to eat them. The next time I make them, I think I’ll grate a little ginger into the mix for an added dimension.

Makes 8.

Ingredients

2 large mangoes, peeled and choppedIMG_9611
1/3 c lime juice
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 c water

Directions

1. Toss everything in the blender and puree.
2. Freeze it all for at least four hours.

They’ll be good your freezer for about four days, but it’s unlikely they’ll last that long.

The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.

The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

5 Jun

If your eyebrow is raised archly at the prospect of zucchini in a muffin as mine initially was, let me assure you that it’s delicious. Or, perhaps more accurately, it makes the muffin delicious. The actual flavour disappears entirely because the zucchini is so finely grated. Instead, you get wonderfully moist muffins that have a punch of goodness and just a handful of chocolate chips. This is my current favourite muffin recipe – I make it nearly every other week and always eat one before I put them away for breakfast the next morning.

These would be good with half a cup of chopped walnuts if you were so inclined!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 1/2c all-purpose flour
2/3c white sugar
1 ts baking soda
1 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c milk
1 ts vanilla
1 c zucchini, finely grated
1 handful chocolate chips – feel free to be as stingy or as generous as you like

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line or grease muffin cups.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and then toss in the grated carrot.
3. Stir everything together until just combined and then spoon into the muffin cups.
4. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Leave for 5 minutes then pop onto a rack to cool off completely.

muffin

Slow Cooker French Toast

14 Apr

What else needs to be said? Those are four beautiful words when combined. This recipe makes something akin to bread pudding, but without the sogginess that sometimes accompanies it. This is a glorious, sweet, luscious, calorie-laden treat that I made for dinner on the weekend. (Should you so desire, you could add sliced apples into the mix or top with bananas or berries.) While it was undeniably decadent, it didn’t feel especially heavy or overly filling – I didn’t desperately want a nap post-dinner. It fed four adults and a very happy toddler and took almost no time to throw together.

You probably already have most of these ingredients kicking around your kitchen, so why not treat yourselves to a yummy breakfast for dinner this week?

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 loaf of bread, cubed

Egg mixture
2 1/2 c milk
7 eggs
2 ts cinnamon
pinch of salt

Topping
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 ts cinnamon

Directions

1. Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Toss in one layer of the bread, a little less than half the loaf.
3. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until they’re mixed together really well. Spread half across the bread in the cooker. (Don’t worry about it being perfect. Just try to get a fairly even coating.)
4. Add in the rest of the bread and the topping.
5. Combine the egg mixture ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the bread and filler.
6. Set your slow cooker to low and cook 6 hours. If you have a bit of extra time, remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes so you get even more crispy bits on top.

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