Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lately


The world is white.  And I’m not talking about the snow.  We’re living in a world of salt.  It covers the roads and sidewalks.  The cars are coated in a gritty layer of it, inside and out, where it rubs onto coats and pants, so that we walk around wearing it.  We bring it into the house on our boots.  There’s no escaping it.  I thought about going through the car wash the other day, but with -35°C temps outside I decided that I didn’t want to risk freezing the doors shut.


This is winter.  The cold, the snow, and the salt, and all things white.


And when we're dealing with extreme cold outside, there's a lot of this going on inside.


Instagram lately.  There's a lot of food happening.  Along with some hockey, a boreal forest diorama, and a frozen lake.


I feel like I've been in hibernation mode.  I guess that's winter.



Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sloppy Joes


So, I made Sloppy Joes over the weekend.  And they were amazing.  I can’t remember the last time I made them.  I seem to recall they weren’t very good, and there was much moaning and groaning and scraping of uneaten food into the garbage.  Last week, out of the blue, one of the kids asked me to make Sloppy Joes for dinner. 

Hmmm, OK.

Comfort food is what we need when the temps are plummeting to -30°C outside.

I searched recipes until I settled on the Pioneer Woman’s version.  I had all of the ingredients and her recipes haven’t failed me yet.


I was tempted to skip the green pepper, because no one really likes it, but decided instead to chop the green pepper very fine, so as to make it barely visible.  I think it adds necessary flavour, so a small dice allowed me to sneak some green pepper past my kids.  I added celery because I had some that needed to be used up, and because I can't seem to follow a recipe without straying from it.



The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  I used an entire can.   I wasn’t paying close enough attention while I was adding everything to the pan.  The end result wasn’t overly tomato-y, and it was just so incredibly good that I’ve left the one can of tomato paste in the ingredient list.  Added bonus: no half-used can of tomato paste lurking in the fridge becoming a science experiment.


This combination of ingredients and spices made the best Sloppy Joes I have ever eaten, perfectly sweet and spicy, and not too saucy.




Sloppy Joes


Ingredients:

3 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 whole medium/large onion, diced
1 whole large green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 can tomato paste
1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Kaiser Rolls, lightly toasted

Directions:

Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until brown, breaking up large pieces while stirring. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.


Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Lightly toasting the buns prevented them from getting soggy as soon as the meat mixture was ladled on.  If your toaster has a bagel setting, use it.  It will only toast the insides of the buns.


Some of the kids chose to add shredded cheese, lettuce, and extra hot sauce… but I thought they were perfect just as is.


This served all eight of us, with leftovers to snack on the next day.




“#CookBlogShare

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Crock Pot Taco Chicken Bowls


Short days, long nights, bulky sweaters, and slow cookers.  This time of year feels heavy, with it's extra layers, warm blankets, and sturdy boots.  Winter is about comfort foods.  Substantial soups, hearty stews, and casseroles.  And Taco Chicken Bowls.


Our Crock Pot is seeing so much use, that it's taken up permanent residence on the kitchen counter.  It will likely find it's way back into a cupboard in a few month's time, but for now it's front and centre in the kitchen.


These Taco Chicken Bowls are a favourite in our house.  I was inspired by this recipe.  I've tweaked the spices slightly and used more beans.  Sometimes I'll add an extra chicken breast if I want to ensure leftovers for lunch the next day. 


Have you ever made your own tortilla shells?  I used this recipe.




Crock Pot Taco Chicken Bowls

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large jar salsa
2 cans black beans
½ lb (8 oz) frozen corn
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
½ - 1 tsp chili pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
½ tsp ground pepper
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup water

Add everything to the crock pot, stir well, making sure chicken is covered.  Cook on low 8 hours.  Roughly chop or shred chicken before serving.

Serve over cooked rice with sour cream, shredded cheddar and avocado.  Or try it with quinoa...or wrap it all up in a tortilla shell!





Thank you for featuring me!

featured200x200 Ms. enPlace

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Happy New Year


Well hello there.  Happy New Year.  

I am just now emerging from the madness that was December.






Shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and getting it all done at the last possible minute.




Meals and snacks merged, and became all day food.







Despite the stress and excess that overshadows Christmas, there was cherished family time.










And some much needed time away from work, school, and hockey.


I am desperately feeling the push and pull of time.  The change in seasons and another new year brings on a familiar melancholy.  

Pushing forward, while wistfully looking back.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas


Slowly but surely, it's happening.  The glitter and greenery are coming out.  The kids have their tree up, and the garland is on the stairs. My morning coffee is coming in holiday cups, and last night there was eggnog in coffee.


Fa la la, it must be December.



Friday, 28 November 2014

Honey Pineapple Chicken


This chicken dish.  Honey Pineapple Chicken...with garlic and sriracha.


This is a share-worthy recipe.  What started out as one recipe became something else altogether as I started substituting ingredients to accomodate what I had in the cupboard.

It's not much to look at, as the photos really don't do it justice.  It's dark outside when I get home from work, and I just haven't figured out the best way to take a decent photo indoors at night... while stirring, and yelling at kids and dogs all at the same time.  I don't much like the short days this time of year... they make me want to put on my pajamas as soon as I get home.

Did you know that 2 packets of soy sauce from Chinese take-out equal one tablespoon exactly?  An empty bottle of soy sauce in the cupboard led me to this discovery.  You're welcome.

This is incredibly tasty, and so very easy.  Brown some chicken breasts, mix up a quick sauce to pour over them, and finish off in the oven.  The addition of red wine vinegar to the sauce results in very tender chicken. Serve over rice.

See?  Easy.  Totally do-able on a work night.


I expected leftovers, but I was out of luck.  And I will likely make this again before the week is over.

Honey Pineapple Chicken


4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned to taste
1 can crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Brown chicken breasts in a small amount of oil over medium heat.  I seasoned them lightly with salt, pepper, and quick shake of Montreal Chicken Spice.

Meanwhile, strain crushed pineapple to separate the juice.  You should end up with about a cup of pineapple juice.  Combine the pineapple juice, honey, 1/2 cup of water, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, sriracha, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat.  Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water to make a slurry, and whisk gradually into the sauce.  Return to heat and bring back to a boil, simmering for a few minutes to thicken.  Stir in crushed pineapple.

Place browned chicken breasts in a casserole dish and cover with prepared sauce.  Bake in a 350°F oven for 25 - 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Cook time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

Serve over hot, cooked rice.  I used jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk, but any plain rice will do... the sauce is the star of the show here!



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