Tag Archives: tomatoes

Slop, Sloppy Joes

13 Oct

It’s cooling off, thank goodness, which means I am back in the kitchen! The brutal heat of this Toronto summer kept me from really digging in and trying new dishes, often opting for easy sandwiches, wraps and salads that didn’t involve, y’know, moving or turning anything on. But all that is behind us now, so back to hanging out at the stove making tasty dishes!

This recipe makes an enormous pot of Sloppy Joes, one of my favourite things to eat when I was younger. When we were kids, my grandmother would make them when we were up at the cottage and it was such fun to eat this messy, saucy sandwich! It fed a whole whack of grandkids and this recipe will certainly feed a hungry crowd with leftovers. I froze what we didn’t eat in the first couple of days for handy weeknight oh-man-what-am-I-gonna-feed-this-family moments.

Ingredients

2 tb vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
2 sweet peppers, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 heaping tb of chili powder
2 tb cumin
1 tb salt
2 packages ground beef
2 796ml cans diced tomatoes
2 156ml cans tomato paste
1 tb red wine vinegar

rolls, hamburger buns
hot sauce, optional
shredded cheese, optional

Directions

1. Heat the oil in the largest pot you have to medium heat. A Dutch oven would be perfect for this, but a pasta pot would do!
2. Toss in the onion, garlic, peppers and celery. Cook until softened, occasionally stirring, roughly 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for an additional minute, allowing the flavours to brighten.
4. Add the two packages of ground beef, breaking it up as you go. You don’t want to brown the meat here as it will only make it tough, so make sure you keep stirring things around.
5. Once all the pink is gone from the beef, add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and vinegar. Give everything a good stir and simmer for a few more minutes. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6. Pile a heaping scoop – or two – on to a soft bun. Top with hot sauce and/or shredded cheese if you so desire!

joes

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Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs, New Potatoes & Veggies

30 Jan

With the foodNURDling around, I don’t have a lot of spare time or free hands. A few days ago, however, while he slept blissfully in the early evening I headed into the kitchen to make dinner. It felt so good to be back in there after weeks away from the stove.

I had some chicken thighs, some potatoes, sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes. I didn’t want to make a lot of dishes, so on to a large roasting sheet they were to go. In a large bowl, I made a quick marinade with olive oil, paprika, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and tossed in the chicken and halved new potatoes. In went the potatoes into a hot oven, followed by the chicken and finally the peppers and tomatoes (with just a little salt, pepper and olive oil). Forty-five minutes later I have moist, aromatic chicken, beautifully roasted potatoes that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and lovely, caramelized vegetables. There was almost no prep work and minimal clean up: perfect!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs (skin removed, if you like)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 tb paprika
1 tb thyme
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper
1 lb small potatoes, halved
1 sweet pepper, sliced
1 container of cherry tomatoes, scored on the top

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes and chicken and toss to coat.
3. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread out the potatoes in a single layer on one side. After 15 minutes, add the chicken (skin-side down if you kept it) and stir the potatoes around. Bake 15 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes are up, add the vegetables to the sheet (with their own salt, pepper and olive oil) and flip the chicken over. Bake for another 15 minutes.
5. When the  last timer goes off, remove the sheet from the oven and enjoy!

chicken thighs, potatoes, veg

Roasted Shrimp & White Bean Salad

2 Aug

This is a fantastic light – but satisfying –  salad that we tried for the first time last night. J added some lemon juice to it to brighten the flavours of the dish, which I think was a great touch. I’m generally not a huge fan of watercress, but I really liked it in this dish. Great summer salad, but would be good year ’round.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 – 14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tb red wine vinegar
10 oz watercress
1 tb lemon juice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. On half of a foil-lined sheet, arrange the shrimp in a single layer. On the other half, place the bacon pieces. Drizzle everything with olive oil; season the shrimp with salt & pepper. Sprinkle the sage leaves over the entire sheet.
3. On a second baking sheet, place the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
4. Place both sheets in the oven. Cook the tomatoes until they burst, roughly 12 minutes. The shrimp and bacon will likely take a few minutes longer (roughly 15).
5. In a large bowl, place the watercress and beans. Add in the tomatoes and their accumulated juices and toss to mix. Then add the shrimp, bacon and any remaining liquids to the mix. (Use your judgement: you don’t want to add all the rendered fat back into the salad, but some of it.)
6. Add in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a little more olive oil. Toss to mix and serve!

Quinoa BLT Salad

9 Jul

I stumbled across this recipe on the Dulcet Devotion site and was instantly interested: healthy salad + bacon and feta? Best of both worlds! I made a couple of minor adjustments but otherwise it’s pretty close to the original. This was a light, satisfying salad that had crunchy, salty and sweet elements that had me going back for seconds. Next time I make it, I think I’ll add in some chili flakes or Sriracha for a spicy bite.

Serves 2 (as a main)

Ingredients

1 c quinoa, rinsed
4 – 5 strips bacon
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of cilantro and/or parsley, roughly chopped
2 avocados, diced
1/4 c green onions, diced
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb balsamic vinegar
1 tb olive oil/avocado oil
1 ts kosher salt
1 ts black pepper
handful of greens
50 oz feta, crumbled

Directions

1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Place in a large bowl and let cool for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook, drain and crumble the bacon.
3. Put the tomatoes, green onion, avocado and herbs into a medium bowl. Mix together with a little bit of lemon juice.


4. Once the quinoa has cooled, add in the olive oil, rest of the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt & pepper. Stir to mix thoroughly.


5. Add in the rest of the salad fixings and season to taste, remembering that the feta will add some saltiness.


6. Plate the quinoa salad and top with greens and feta.

Foil-Baked Salmon

22 Aug

In the never-ending quest to find more delicious, easy fish recipes I came across Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe for salmon baked in foil. I had a quick look through the ingredients and decided it was worth trying out. Picked up some beautiful salmon at New Seaway Fish Market in Kensington (where they will cut you a filet to any size you like – just ask! And ignore the curmudgeonly fishmonger’s attitude. He’s actually really funny.) as we were down there anyway. This is the kind of recipe that makes the most out of a few delicious ingredients. Try to use the fresh herbs if you can, but the dried ones work well, too, and pack a lot of flavour. Wrap it all up in foil, throw it in the oven and 20 minutes later you have melt-in-your-mouth salmon!

As a side note, you can prep these ingredients and have everything ready to go for up to six hours ahead of time, so this would be a great dish for company. Just keep it in the fridge and put it in the oven when you’re ready.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, chopped OR 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 shallots, chopped
2 tb + 2 ts extra virgin olive oil
2 tb fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 1/2 ts fresh oregano OR 3/4 ts dried oregano
1 1/2 fresh thyme OR 3/4 ts dried thyme
1 ts salt
3/4 ts pepper
4 salmon filets

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, shallots, 2 tb olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, oregano, 1/2 ts salt and a pinch of pepper.
3. In the centre of a sheet of foil, spoon 1/2 ts of oil. Place the fish on top and then coat. Season with salt & pepper and spoon 1/4 of the tomato mixture on top. Fold the sides over the fish and seal  tightly. Repeat for the other filets.
4. Place all on a baking sheet and cook 20-25 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Using a spatula, carefully lift the fish from the packet and plate.

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Halibut w/ Roasted Grape Tomato Salsa

22 Sep

J made this dish for his mom’s birthday last week. I can’t wait to have it again! The recipe is courtesy of Christine Cushing. First one we’ve made of hers and I will definitely be searching out more!

Halibut can be a bit expensive. If you don’t feel like splurging, haddock would work in a pinch!

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half, crosswise
12 red pearl onions, blanched and peeled
5-6 tb olive oil
2 lime (zest & juice)
5-10 thyme sprigs
salt & pepper
4 60z halibut (or haddock) filets
1 tb thyme, chopped
2 c basmati rice, cooked

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
2. Add 2-3 tb of the olive oil, tomatoes, pearl onions, zest & juice of one lime and thyme sprigs into a roasting pan. Roast until tomatoes and onions start to soften, roughly 7-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, season fish with salt and pepper, zest from 1 lime and chopped thyme. Add 2tb of olive oil to sauté pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, sear both sides (1 to 2 minute per side).
4. Transfer the fish to the roasting pan.  Roast the fish with the vegetables for 7-9 minutes.
5. Plate the fish with the tomatoes & onions, drizzling some of the juices from the pan.  Serve with the rice.

Why I’m Going To Miss My Parents’ Garden

13 Sep

My parents are moving from their three-bedroom, two-yard home into a condo in the coming months. (Make no mistake, though this is the home I grew up in, I’m very excited for the next chapter in their lives!) I will miss much about that house, especially the backyard with fruit trees, a raspberry bush and the garden. Every year, my dad plants all sorts of things – even corn. (Sadly, not much corn and no baseball players emerged.) A couple of years ago, J and I planted a few things including hot peppers and mint, the latter of which promptly took over the back half of the garden. Sorry, Dad.

What I will miss most, though, are the tomatoes. I always knew summer was winding down when the tomatoes came out in full force: little ones, big ones, red ones, yellow ones…all delicious in their own right, all practically falling off the vines, ready to be picked. Once you’ve had home grown fruit and vegetables, it’s hard to beat.

So, to all my dad’s hard work, I say thank you. To all the gardeners and farmers, keep up the amazing work. I, for one, appreciate it even more now that it won’t be in the back yard for us anymore.

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