Tag Archives: easy

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

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Braised Pork Stew

27 Jan

Because I just can’t stop buying cookbooks, Michael Smith’s latest, Family Meals, has appeared on my shelf. I’ve always liked Smith: he was my gateway into cooking fish for the first time and his recipes (while sometimes a bit short on the salt for my taste) never fail me. I like his philosophy that a recipe is simply somewhere to start, a thing to be played with, an idea upon which to expound. I feel the same way: when I come across a new recipe, I’ll generally leave the fundamentals alone but will alter things like seasoning and heat levels to suit my taste.

This particular book has some fantastic slow cooker recipes and quite a few vegetarian recipes that look enticing. I tried out the slow-cooked pork shoulder stew this weekend it’s a keeper. We added a few dashes of hot sauce to our bowls but kept it out of the main pot to avoid burning foodNURDling’s little tongue. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients. It’s hearty, filling and healthy. This recipe also makes a TON so you will definitely have leftovers. Cook once, eat many times. Works for me.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3lb pork shoulder, halved
salt & pepper
2 tb vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 ts dried thyme and/or rosemary
2 ts salt
7c water
1c white wine (or, if you don’t want to use alcohol, skip it and add 8 cups of water instead of splitting it)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 300F.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan (a Dutch oven is perfect) to medium-high heat. Add the oil and watch for it become shimmery. Season the pork generously with salt & pepper and the two pieces of pork to the pan, searing on all sides until nicely browned.
3. Add in the celery, potatoes, carrots, onions, herbs, salt and liquid. Bring to a simmer. Cover with  a tightly-fitting lid and place in the oven for 3-4 hours.
4. Remove the pot from the oven. The pork will now be fork-tender; shred or cube the meat. Serve and enjoy!

Fresh Canteen Grocery Service

16 Sep

You worked all day. Getting home in rush hour is a hassle and you just didn’t have the time or desire to hit the grocery store. You’re home now and you’re starving. You want to have something healthy for dinner but you don’t have all the ingredients you need so you throw your hands up in the air and pick up the phone and order delivery.

Let’s rewrite this scenario:  you worked all day. Getting home in rush hour is a hassle and you just didn’t have the time or desire to hit the grocery store. You’re home now and you’re starving. You want to have something healthy for dinner…so on your way in the door you pick up the box of ingredients you ordered from Fresh Canteen and prepare yourself a healthy, flavourful, properly portioned meal.

This second scenario sounds more appealing, non?

From six possible entree options, I tried out the Jamaican chicken dinner. The box was delivered Tuesday afternoon and I received an email notification when it arrived. (Note: in speaking with owner Matt O’Leary , he told me that the boxes are packaged with materials and ice packs that allow the ingredients to remain unrefrigerated for up to 24 hours. Additionally, all the materials are recyclable. ) When I got home, I opened up the box to find all the ingredients I would need: two chicken breasts, pineapple salsa vegetables and herbs, 1/2 cup of quinoa and individually packaged spices. Included in the box was a step-by-step recipe card with clear instructions and pictures.

fc box

Food is snug as a bug in its recyclable packaging.

fc menu

Helpful recipe card.

The whole meal, from the time I opened the box to the time I sat down to eat, took 40 minutes. It didn’t require me to use any special kitchen tools and the only things I needed from my own pantry were salt, pepper and vegetable oil.  I wondered if there would really be enough food for two of us but we were quite full – in fact, there actually might have been too much salsa. That being said, having extra red pepper and pineapple salsa on hand is not a bad thing: it makes for a good snack later!

fc chicken

fc veg

fc final

Fresh Canteen is serving most of the GTA thus far, delivering a package of three meals once per week. “We know people are going to order out, too,” Matt tells me, “but at least they can have enough food in the fridge for a few days so they can eat healthy meals at home.” FC is a great service for those who love to cook but don’t always have the time to get to the grocery store. Each week the menu options change and there are fish, chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes from which you can choose. Check them out, folks. It’s a great service run by friendly, knowledgeable people who care about your food as much as you do.

Cheese Muffins

2 Feb

Makes 12.

Ingredients

2 1/2c all-purpose flour
1tb baking powder
1tb sugar
1ts salt
1c Cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/4c milk
1 egg
1/4c butter, melted

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line or butter a muffin tin.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add the cheese, milk, egg and butter to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine but do not overmix.
4. Spoon equal amounts into the 12 muffin cups and bake 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.
5. Allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

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(Mostly)Chinese Chicken Salad

27 Sep

Always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to make salad more than just lettuce. This recipe is a Bobby Flay creation, but I’m renaming it. He calls it “Chinese” but the chipotle puree tells me otherwise. I also added some diced red pepper to the salad, as it was in the fridge and I figured it couldn’t be bad in there!

I poached four chicken thighs in water with peppercorns & a dried ancho chili that I happened to have in my cupboard. (I poached them because I wanted that shredded texture that works best with poached chicken, as opposed to grilling or baking.) They took about 25 minutes in barely-boiling liquid. I then removed the skin and bones, shredding the rest with two forks. Delish. Leftover chicken from a roast would also work really well.

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 tb smooth peanut butter
1 tb ginger, grated
2 ts chipotle puree
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb honey
2 ts sesame oil
1/3 c canola oil
1/2 Napa cabbage (or whichever cabbage you prefer)
1/2 head Romaine (or…y’know…whatever you’ve got!)
2 carrots, shredded
1 handful snow peas
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 c chicken, shredded
1/2 c peanuts & mint, julienned

Directions

1. If you have not cooked chicken yet, fill a medium-large pot with water or stock. Bring to a boil and add in your chicken. Cook 25-30 minutes at a low boil.
2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, peanut butter, chipotle puree, soy, honey, sesame oil & canola oil. Whisk until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cilantro and green onion.
4. Toss the dressing into the salad and plate on large dishes. Add the chicken.
5. Top with peanuts & mint.

*If you poach the chicken, keep the broth that’s left. Skim the fat, let it cool and reuse for soups. If you’re not going to use it right away, toss the broth in the freezer. It’ll keep for quite a while.

Sunday Dinners: Spice-Rubbed Tilapia with “Papango” Salsa

6 Sep

The first question I expect you’re asking is, “What the hell is papango salsa?” Good question. Glad you asked!
I found a recipe for tilapia with mango salsa and while it sounded delicious, I thought it could be even better with a little more sweetness from a papaya. Thus, papango salsa was born.

On with the recipe…

Serves 2.

Ingredients

2 tilapia filets
3 ts chili powder
3 ts cumin
2 ts oregano
1 ts kosher salt
1 ts pepper
2 ts olive oil
1 small mango, diced
1/2 papaya, diced
1/2 orange or red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime (juice)
dash salt & pepper

Directions

Salsa

1. Combine the mango, papaya, pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice salt & pepper and set aside for the flavors to mix. *Note: if you make the salsa more than an hour ahead of dinner, do not add the salt. It will pull out a lot of the moisture in the fruit and the salsa will be watery. Instead, add it before you start cooking the fish.

Tilapia

1. In a bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper. Taste and adjust to taste, if desired.
2. Coat the fish in the seasoning evenly. (A fork works really well for sprinkling the seasoning evenly if you don’t want to use your fingers.)
3.Heat up olive oil in a large pan to medium high.
4. Add the fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes per side.
5. When the fish is cooked through, plate and top with salsa.
 

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