Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I can’t get enough of Mexican food. I could probably eat Mexican meals every night of the week and not get bored. Probably the only thing I love as much as Mexican food is slow cooked food, so a recipe that combines these two things is sure to be an instant favourite with me. We’ve been eating a lot of meals from the crokpot lately, at least once a week, because I’ve been taking Bennett to weekly speech therapy sessions that are right before dinner. It’s so convenient to have supper simmering away in the crockpot when we come home, waiting to be dished out and enjoyed. This soup is one of those great crockpot recipes that also happens to be Mexican. I’m in love! The rest of my family was quite smitten with this meal as well. Everyone had fun garnishing their soup with plenty of crushed tortilla chips, avocados, and lime wedges.
Mexican Chicken Crockpot Soup
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 box (900 ml) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup salsa
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup almond butter
crushed tortilla chips
Place all ingredients except for the almond butter into a crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. With two forks, break up the chicken into smaller pieces (it should fall apart easily). Stir in the almond butter and remove bay leaf. Serve with suggested garnish ingredients.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Nothing screams summer like burgers, but sometimes the same old beef burgers get a little boring, or are off-limits to many people because of dietary restrictions. Black bean burgers are the perfect alternative. I like them because they taste great, and they happen to be good for you. They're low in fat, packed with protein, and these ones are really easy to make. I'll admit, my family prefers the meat kind, but they sure didn't mind eating these burgers. I topped them with guacamole, which is always a big hit in our house, so I think that helped. You can eat them without the bun and just guacamole if you want (that's what I had for lunch the next day), or serve them in a bun with the usual burger toppings such as cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, ketchup, etc. You can even crumble them into a salad if you'd like. They're very versatile, so even if you don't eat all of the patties for dinner, you'll easily find a way to use up the extra ones.
Black Bean Burger Patties
2 cans (19 oz) black beans
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tbsp flour
In a large bowl, mash up black beans. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. PLace 1/2 cup mounds of mixture onto a greased baking sheet and form into patties. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, flipping patties halfway through baking time. Makes about 7 patties.
If desired, top with sliced cheese and return to warm oven until melted.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I'm writing this as my husband prepares to watch the Stanley Cup finals, game 7 between the Canucks and the Bruins. This is a very special day for him, a day he's been waiting for since he was a boy. Oh yeah, it also happens to be our 9th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, we'll be spending our anniversary at home in front of the television watching the game and drinking beer. I honestly have no problem with that. We're very low-key when it comes to anniversaries or any other special occasion. Sometimes we go out for dinner, but often we just like to stay home. After the kids go to bed, we'll have a nice romantic dinner with wine, candlelight, and soft music in the background. Then we'll curl up on the couch together and watch a movie. We're both homebodies, so this kind of date suits us just fine. Plus, we don't have to pay for a babysitter. Bonus!
This dish is perfect for one of these home date-nights. It's fast and easy, but still classy enough for wine and candlelight. You can change the vegetable or seafood to whatever you like. I happened to use imitation crab this particular time, which I know isn't that healthy but it is cheap and fast so don't judge me. Shrimp, scallops, canned baby clams, or even tuna would be great as well.
Creamy Broccoli and Seafood Pasta
12 oz uncooked fettucine (or other pasta of your choice)
1 cup broccoli florets
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup cooked crab meat (or imitation crab)
1/2 tsp basil
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add the broccoli florets.
While pasta cooks, start your sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Sprinkle flour onto butter until smooth paste forms. Add milk and whisk well. Continue whisking until milk comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat. Add parmesan cheese, sour cream, basil, crab, and salt and pepper.
Drain pasta and broccoli in a colander once it has finished cooking. Serve with sauce.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I love pizza, because it gives me a chance to be creative and imprecise. You don't need to measure everything perfectly, and it's okay if you don't have all the right ingredients. Basically you just need the dough, and something tasty to put on top of it. For pizza toppings, I often use whatever I have in my fridge. This time I had some roast chicken that was left over from dinner the night before, so I thought that would be perfect for this pizza. I decided that Mexican flavours would be fun, and added salsa, pizza sauce, black beans, frozen corn, green onions and cheese. Oh, and I put a little pineapple on it too, because Cole won't eat pizza unless it has pineapple on it.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I recently posted about Chocolate Cake in a Mug, where I showed you how to bake a single-serving chocolate cake in only a few minutes. That got me to thinking, would this work for baked oatmeal too? I adore baked oatmeal, but most mornings I don't have the time to bake it. So I tried applying the principles of chocolate cake in a mug to baked oatmeal, and it actually worked pretty well! I still think oven baked oatmeal is the best, but when you're in a hurry, this microwave version hits the spot. Like any oatmeal, you can add or change the flavours to suit your taste. I decided on banana and apple for this particular recipe. You could probably use a bowl instead of a mug, but I happen to think the mug is just more fun. It also fools you into thinking you're eating more than you actually are. Not only is it great for breakfast, but also great for a snack or even dessert. After sharing the recipe for that dangerously addictive chocolate cake in a mug, I'm hoping I can redeem myself with this healthier alternative.
Apple Banana "Baked" Oatmeal in a Mug
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup milk
1/3 of a banana, mashed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 of an apple, chopped
2 tsp honey
Add oats, flax, egg and milk in a mug. Stir well with a fork. Add banana, cinnamon, apple and honey. Stir again until fully combined. Cook in microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Stir in a little milk or yogurt or nut-butter if desired.
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Saturday, June 4, 2011
Black beans. Yams. Whenever I see these two ingredients together in a recipe I swoon. I love them both on their own, but when they're together it's a beautiful thing. I usually put black beans in my enchiladas, that's nothing new (see Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas and Black Bean and Sausage Enchilada Casserole), but I had yet to try putting yams in them. I figured it was about time I gave it a shot. Tony and I were in love with these enchiladas. Seriously, Tony had three helpings for dinner and then more for lunch the next day. I showed slightly more restraint than Tony, but I'll admit I ate quite a few of them too. The boys weren't as crazy about them as we were. Bennett ate them, but didn't seem that enthusiastic about it. Cole said he didn't like them. Tony replied with something like, "What? Are you crazy? These are the best enchiladas ever!" But Cole wasn't convinced. He ate a few bites, but did so begrudgingly. I just can't seem to get these boys to share my love of yams no matter how hard I try. It was probaby for the best, because Tony and I really didn't want to share the enchiladas anyway.
Black Bean and Yam Enchiladas
3 medium yams, cooked and peeled
1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of salt and pepper
1 cup cottage cheese
Red Sauce (recipe below)
12 large tortillas (I used spinach and whole wheat)
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
In a large bowl, mash the yams and beans. Add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cottage cheese. Stir until combined.
In two 9x12" baking dishes, spread just enough red sauce to cover the bottom of the dishes.
Assemble the enchiladas by spreading the yam mixture down the centre of the tortillas and rolling them up. Place them seam-down in the baking dishes. Top with remaining red sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long).
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ cup salsa
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ cups water
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the onion powder, chili powder, oregano, basil, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, parsley, tomato sauce and salsa. Mix well and then stir in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed
In a small bowl, mix together oil, honey, milk, molasses and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and flax. Add wet ingredients and mix together. Slowly add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky.
Roll out the dough as evenly as possible directly onto a greased baking sheet. Non-rimmed is best, but if you have rimmed sheets like mine, just flip it over.
Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into squares and trim the edges. Save those scraps of dough for later!
Poke holes into the dough with a fork. Cole took charge of this part. Should I be concerned he took so much joy in stabbing something repeatedly with a fork? Ok, I admit it, it was kind of fun.
Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. I found the pieces on the edges were done at 10 minutes, and the middle pieces took a few minutes longer.
While you're waiting for them to bake, have some fun with the leftover scraps of dough. It makes perfect edible playdough for the kids, because there's no raw egg in it so it's safe to eat it. We made dough balls and they were quite tasty.
And here is the finished product...freshly baked graham crackers.
This is the point when Cole told me he didn't like graham crackers.
I tried to make them a little more enticing....
...by adding nutella and mini-marshmallows, then warming it all up in the microwave so it was nice a gooey. Mmm, microwaved smores. One of these days the weather will warm up here and then we'll have real smores. I'm still waiting.
The nutella smores were great, but you can only eat so many of them, so I had to think of another creative way to get the kids to eat graham crackers. I found a recipe on allrecipes called Apple Graham Dessert, made with graham crackers and applesauce. I thought it was a little mushy but the kids loved it.
And that concludes our graham cracker experience. I hope you'll have a great time with this recipe too, just in time for smore season.