Always on the hunt for tasty lunches to bring to work, I’d bookmarked a few recipes for meals in a jar. They are so appealing! They’re contained, they’re colourful and they’re endlessly adaptable. I could have soup with noodles just about every day in winter so I opted to make that first. I based it on a Michael Smith recipe but made a bunch of alterations to suit my tastes.
Makes 2 meals
1 chicken breast, poached and cubed
1 carrot, shredded
2 large handfuls bean sprouts
3 tb cilantro, chopped
2 tb peanuts chopped (optional)
1 package ramen noodles
2 tb ketchup
2 tb smooth peanut butter
2 tb grated frozen ginger
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb fish sauce
1 ts hot sauce
1 ts lime juice
1. Mix together the ketchup, peanut butter, ginger, soy, fish sauce, hot sauce and lime juice making a flavour base. Taste and adjust as necessary, keeping in mind you’ll be adding water that will dilute the flavour. Spoon half into the bottom of each mason jar.
2. Layer in the shredded carrot, chicken, bean sprouts, cilantro and peanuts (if you’re using them). Place in the fridge til you’re ready to eat.
3. Two options for cooking the noodles. Just pick based on the size of your mason jar!
a) Place the noodles in a bowl (for the love of all that’s good, discard the sodium-laced flavour packet that comes with them) and pour boiling water over. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pour off some of the water into the mason jar, cover and shake then pour everything out into the bowl.
b)Break up the noodles in the package and pour them into the mason jar. Pour hot water into the jar, cover and wrap up in a towel. Give the jar a gentle shake and let sit 6-7 minutes.
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!
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
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.
Picture credit to Canadian Living.
It’s cold out there in the big city. There’s snow on the ground, icicles hanging from eavestroughs and lots of grumpy, bundled up people. By the time you get home from a long day and maybe long commute, you want to get warm and eat something good. And quickly. I came across something perfect for just this scenario that has the added bonus of being really healthy. Vegan, even! It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and is full of flavour, textures and fantastic ingredients. Give it a try and I think you’ll quite enjoy it.
1b vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ts cumin
1 ts coriander
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1/3 c quinoa, rinsed
2c vegetable broth (you could use chicken broth if that’s what you’ve got)
1 can white kidneybeans, drained and rinsed
2c baby spinach or 1c frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1. In a medium pot, heat the oil to medium. Add in the onion and carrot, cooking til the onion becomes translucent (3-4 minutes).
2. Add in the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and quinoa. Stir to combine, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and water, bringing everything to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in beans and spinach until heated through, just a couple more minutes and you’re done!
Baby, it’s getting cold outside. What’s better than warming up with a spicy, sweet, comforting bowl of soup (perhaps accompanied by a glass of wine a cheese muffin)? This recipe is courtesy of Bon Appétit and it was a cinch to make. Chop, sauté, stir, blend. Ta da!
1/4 c butter
1lb carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 c low-sodium chicken/vegetable broth
1 13oz can coconut milk
2 tb Thai chile sauce
handful cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions and season with salt and pepper. Stirring often, cook until the carrots have softened, roughly 15-20 minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk, broth and chile sauce. Bring the whole concoction to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. The liquid should have reduced some and the vegetables should be quite soft.
3. Let the soup cool a bit, then pureé until smooth. (You can use a standing blender, but I just used my hand blender…carefully.) Add a little water if you feel the soup needs to be thinned out.
4. Season with more salt, pepper and/or chile sauce if you like. Split into the bowls and top with cilantro if you’re using it.
Carrot Coconut Soup
Soup, soup. I love soup. And when it’s this tasty, basic and healthy, it’s hard not to love it. We added a few drops of hot sauce to our bowls post-cooking as we are wont to do. I thought it was much better with it, but spice is certainly subjective.
Additionally, the original recipe calls for Cajun seasoning. If you have it, wonderful. If not, just mix up the ingredients I listed below: there’s a good chance you already have them in your pantry.
1 smoked turkey thigh/leg (1lb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1 ts cayenne
2 ts paprika
1 ts oregano
1 tb cider vinegar
1. Trim and discard any excess fat from the turkey leg/thigh (but keep the skin).
2. Place the turkey, garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, spices and water in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Remove the turkey from the soup and allow to cool. Remove and discard the skin. Shred or roughly chop the meat.
4. Place 4 cups of the soup in a blender and purée. Place the puréed soup and the turkey back into the slow cooker.
5. Add in the cider vinegar and stir. Season to taste and serve!
It’s November in Toronto. No offense to the November babies out there, but it’s kind of a miserable month. It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s generally kinda dreary. So what’s one to do to combat this downer of a month? Get in the kitchen and cook up something warming and delicious to make you forget about the blah-itude outside! This Moroccan tomato soup fits the bill and then some: it’s finished with creamy peanut butter that lends it a lovely richness.
This is a very balanced recipe, with no ingredient overwhelming another. If you like your food on the spicier side, add a little more cayenne than what’s called for here.
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 280z can crushed tomatoes
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 tb brown sugar
2 tb chili powder
1 ts cumin
1/2 ts black pepper
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cayenne pepper
1/4c tomato paste
1 tb red wine vinegar
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1. Toss the onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 cups of water into a slow cooker. (Or a big pot set on low on the stove. Whatever you’ve got!)
2. Stir in the cinnamon, sugar, chile powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.
3. Cook on low for 5 – 8 hours.
4. Add in the peanut butter and, using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. (If it’s a bit thick, add in a little water and purée again.)
For my dad’s birthday this year, J and I decided to cook him up a birthday seafood feast. The first thing he requested was New England clam chowder. He threw out a few more ideas but I already had a pretty good idea that we’d make scallops as a main. He almost always orders scallops when we go out, I was pretty sure they would go over well. Okay then! To the cookbook shelf!
I ended up making a slightly modified version of Martha Stewart’s New England clam chowder. I went with beautiful pre-cooked clams from St. Lawrence Market and some clam juice instead of fresh clams. There was a fair bit of work to be done for dinner in a small kitchen and, quite frankly, I was able to add a ton of flavour- and clams – to the soup while being able to spend more time with my guests. I’ll try ’em one day, but not that day. The recipe below, however, uses fresh clams and has a few of my own adjustments.
Makes 8 servings
25 fresh clams
3 c water
2 oz pancetta, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 c heavy cream
1. Combine clams and water in a medium stockpot.Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until clams have opened, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard any that don’t open.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams. Strain the broth through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter, which should result in about 4 cups of liquid. You can always add a little more if you need it. When the clams are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from their shells and coarsely chop.
3. Clean the stockpot you used and put it back on the heat at medium. Add the pancetta and cook 3-4 minutes. Some fat should render out and coat the bottom of the pot. (If there isn’t enough, add a little bit of butter.) Toss in the onions and sweat them til translucent, another 3-4 minutes.
Potatoes & onions & pancetta! Oh my!
4. Add the liquid, potatoes, thyme and bay leaves into the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook til the potatoes are tender, roughly 8-10 minutes. (If you like a thicker chowder, you can mash some of the potatoes in the pot.)
5. Add in the clams and the cream: DO NOT BOIL. The cream will separate. Cook for just another minute and season to taste.
6. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and serve immediately.