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Today we are playing softball…we joined a beer league, it’s a great excuse to get outside, see our friends, drink some beer and well, I guess play some softball. ;o)

This is a super quick meal, perfect for a main course, even if you are a meat lover, this is a yummy rich vegetarian alternative, that will satisfy your growling belly.  It takes around 15-20 minutes to put together and I can guarantee you will love it.IMG_8543

Mushroom Quinoa with Arugula and Feta [serves 2]

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup beef or vegetable stock

8 oz package of mushrooms

1/2 onion chopped

1 garlic clove crushed

sprig of thyme

2 generous handfulls of arugula or spinach

feta or goat cheese for topping [optional]

olive oil 

salt and pepper

————–

Cook quinoa according to package directions, use stock instead of water.

Ih the meantime, heat olive oil over medium heat in pan, add mushrooms and onion, let them brown and caramelize a bit, around 8-10 minutes, add garlic and thyme sprig, salt and pepper, sautee  for a few more minutes. Remove thyme sprigs. Add cooked quinoa, and arugula or spinach, until wilted.

Serve topped with feta or goat cheese [optional]

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Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta Kale Filling | www.avenue-photo.com

Holy Macaroni! Where did the summer go?

For this recipe blog, I’ve got a recipe that will warm your belly while still making you reminisce of summer.

I love this recipe, it has loads of cheese, which I love and definitely satisfies my cheese cravings, but is vegetarian, and gluten free. And lightens the dish by using eggplant instead of lasagna noodles or cannelloni. The kale can be substituted with spinach.

It is easy to put together, and makes any kitchen smell like heaven [or what I would imagine Nonna’s kitchen would smell like]. The addition of the lemon zest in the ricotta mixture brightens the entire dish. Yumm!

Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta Kale Filling | www.avenue-photo.com

Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta & Kale Filling

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/4” thick

1.5 cup tomato sauce, your favourite marinara [homemade or store bought]

1 cup ricotta

1 small bunch of kale, stems removed, washed

1 egg

1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated

1 clove garlic, grated

1/2 tsp lemon zest

handful of basil or parsley, chopped

1 cup mozzarella, grated or sliced

salt & pepper

olive oil

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 500F [broil], place eggplant slices in a single layer on lightly oiled, rimmed cookie sheet, brush with a touch more olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until softened and lightly golden brown. After you have removed the eggplant, turn oven temperature down to 375F
  2. While the eggplant is in the oven, bring water to a boil in a medium pot, add salt, and add kale. Blanch kale for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water. Squeeze to drain excess water. Chop kale roughly and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg, garlic, lemon zest, parmigiano reggiano, parsley or basil, kale, salt and pepper.
  4. Spread a ¼ cup of your tomato sauce on the bottom of a ceramic or glass baking dish. Dividing the ricotta-kale mixture [around 1 large table spoon] evenly onto the centre of each eggplant slice, roll, and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella.
  5. Bake in a 375F oven for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

 

* If your eggplant is a touch bitter, before roasting, sprinkle the eggplant with salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Pat dry with a towel. No need to salt before roasting.Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta Kale Filling | www.avenue-photo.com

Eggplant Rolls with Ricotta Kale Filling | www.avenue-photo.com

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Ribs with a kale apple salad

I love me some BBQ. When the summer month come around, we try to spend as much time as we can outside, and although I love my kitchen, I do love some good grillin’.
This recipe is amazing, if you don’t like kale, I promise you this will change your mind.It is such a versatile side dish, and it’s good for you!
As far as the more sinful ribs, this method of cooking in the oven and finishing them on the BBQ, is perfect for tender, juicy ribs.
Fun Fact: Competition ribs are not supposed to fall off the bone. They are to be tender, but if they fall of the bone as you pick them up, they have gone to far. ;o)
Ribs with a kale apple salad Ribs with a kale apple salad

BBQ Ribs with Kale Apple Slaw

Ingredients:
1 rack pork ribs [side or back, your choice]
1 can coca cola
salt & pepper
chorizo spice blend


1.5 cups of your favourite BBQ sauce

1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
1 granny smith apple, cut into matchsticks
handful dried cranberries
handful toasted almond slivers
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
slat & pepper

Preheat oven to 300F
Place ribs in a baking dish with sides
Apply chorizo rub to ribs an all sides
Pour in coca cola, and add the same amount of water, you should have enough liquid to cover the bottom of the roasting pan
Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Place in oven and roast for 2-2.5hrs

For the slaw, in a measuring cup, combine and blend the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup and salt + pepper.
In a large bowl, combine kale, apple and dressing, mix. Top with almonds, and dried cranberries.

Finish ribs on the BBQ. Smother the ribs in BBQ sauce to finish.

Chorizo Spice Blend

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch ground cloves
2 bay leaves [ground or crushed finely]
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp. Ancho chile powder OR substitute with a combination of
2 tbsp. paprika mixed with ½ tsp. cayenne powder OR
2 tbsp. paprika mixed with 1 tsp. red chili powder
* 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (can substitute with red wine vinegar)

Mix all ingredients in a container, store until ready to use.
When using, mix with vinegar and add to ground meat. [best to leave in refrigerator overnight, to let the flavours marry]
Or use as a dry rub or seasoning.
Ribs with a kale apple salad Ribs with a kale apple salad Ribs with a kale apple salad

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Chicken Souvlaki

I have this recipe in my repertoire, it’s one of my go-to’s, and I love it, it has sauces, salads and deliciously marinated grilled chicken. Plus, pitas to sop up all of the yummy juices. A perfectly easy mid week meal.

Chicken Souvlaki Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken Souvlaki

2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
lemon juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces, place on skewers
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
Lettuce
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or prepared tzatziki sauce
1 small cucumber, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Pitas to serve

Heat grill or grill pan.
In a measuring cup, combine the oregano, thyme, pepper, the vinegar, and the lemon juice. Slowly add oil, whisking constantly until incorporated.
Place chicken in a bowl or ziplock bag and add half of the vinaigrette, toss, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, lettuce, onion, feta, and olives.
Pour the other half of the vinaigrette over the tomato mixture, toss, and set aside.
Grill the chicken skewers.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt or tzatziki sauce, cucumber, dill.
Spread the bread with the tzatziki sauce and top with chicken and tomato salad.

Inspired by: Real Simple

Chicken Souvlaki Chicken Souvlaki Chicken Souvlaki

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Beef Stir Fry Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Sometimes I feel like spending half hour cooking is too long…we all have those days. But I’m still craving a super satisfying home made meal. A stir-fry is an easy way to make a yummy easy dinner, that combines some meat and veggies and a  delicious sauce and has me saying mmm mmm mmm all through dinner. Enjoy this one, it’s yummy!
Beef Stir Fry with Snow Peas

Beef Stir-Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas

For the sauce combine:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp sugar
dash or hot pepper flakes

Stir-Fry
1 lbs beef, thinly sliced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
8 oz snap peas or snow peas, sliced on a diagonal
peanut oil
steamed rice or rice noodles to serve

Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bow, set aside.
Heat skillet until hot, add a couple of glugs of peanut oil.
Add beef, in a single layer, and brown on both sides, you might have to do this in batches, to not overcrowd the pan. Remove beef to bowl, set aside.
Add a couple of glugs of peanut oil, add the mushrooms, salt a touch. Cook until they start to get a bit brown.
Add snap peas, return beef to pan and add sauce cook for 1-2 minutes.
Serve over rice or rice noodles.

Beef Stir Fry with Snow Peas Beef Stir Fry with Snow Peas

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Tuna Melt with Green Olives
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I love tuna salad, top it with cheese and I am in heaven.
Here is a super quick recipe, delicious for lunch or dinner and totally satisfying the cheese craving. The addition of olives and a squeeze of lemon juice, just livens the tuna salad up. Yum!

Tuna Melt with Green Olives Tuna Melt with Green Olives

Tuna Melt with Green Olives

1 can tuna in water, drained
1/4 cup green olives, roughly chopped
half a stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 green onion or small handful of chives chopped
squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp of mayonnaise
salt & pepper
couple of slices of your favourite bread
couple of slices of your favourite cheese, such as havarti or cheddar

Preheat toaster oven to 375F
Mix the ingredients for the tuna salad in a bowl.
Top each slice of bread with tuna salad, and cheese.
Toast until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Tuna Melt with Green Olives

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Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad

I am chorizo obsessed. I love Spanish or Portugese chorizo, smoked, and full of flavour. Mexican chorizo is raw, but the spices are incredible. I love making my own burgers, there’s something so satisfying about a nice juicy patty, hot off the grill. Burgers are a staple during the summer at our place, paired with some salad or coleslaw, and it’s a perfectly satisfying meal. Mmmm…Burgers.Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad

Chorizo Burgers
1/2 lbs ground pork
1/2 lbs ground beef [or any combination of one or the two]
1 tbsp bread crumbs [optional]
4 kaiser buns or hamburger buns
chorizo spice blend – recipe below
to garnish: guacamole, goat’s cheese, onion, tomato, lettuce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, form into 4 burgers, grill until cooked through.
Assemble burgers.

Roasted Tomato Salad
1 head lettuce
1 pint cherry tomatoes
herbs, such as chives or cilantro

Lime tabasco dressing
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp tabasco sauce, or to taste
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F, cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, roast for 15 minutes.
In a bowl mix together lime juice, olive oil, tabasco, salt and pepper.
To assemble salad, toss together the tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and dressing.

Chorizo Spice Blend

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch ground cloves
2 bay leaves [ground or crushed finely]
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp. Ancho chile powder OR substitute with a combination of
2 tbsp. paprika mixed with ½ tsp. cayenne powder OR
2 tbsp. paprika mixed with 1 tsp. red chili powder
* 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (can substitute with red wine vinegar)

Mix all ingredients in a container, store until ready to use.
When using, mix with vinegar and add to ground meat. [best to leave in refrigerator overnight, to let the flavours marry]
Or use as a dry rub or seasoning.

Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad Chorizo Burgers with Roasted Tomato Salad

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Grilled Chicken and Zucchini

When the warms months come around, we try to be outside as much as we can. There is something just incredible about the taste you get cooking on the grill.

This marinade for the chicken is beyond incredible and can be also roasted in the oven, instead of grilled. The longer you marinate the more tender it will be.
We grow zucchini in the garden during the summer, and it’s aways so readily available at the market, and it is a super versatile veg. You can sautee it, braise it, fry it, grill it, eat it raw, pickle it, add it to a cake…endless possibilities.
This recipe for grilled zucchs is how my parents-in-law always prepare it. Super simple and so perfectly delicious. Why complicate it. ;o)

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini

Buttermilk Marinated Grilled Chicken with Grilled Zucchini

4 chicken pieces, bone in, skin on [things and drumsticks preferred]

1 cup buttermilk

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp paprika [you can use sweet or smoked]

ground pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/4” thick

glug of olive oil

salt and pepper

juice of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, grated

Preparation:

Preheat grill.

In a large resealable bag or bowl, mix together, the buttermilk, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, and olive oil. Add chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes, but best overnight. [I usually forget that part, so my chicken usually marinates as the grill or oven hear up ;o)  ]

Meanwhile slice the zucchini, gently toss with a bit of salt and a small glug of olive oil. I have a small mandolin I use for slicing, it’s quick and slices super evenly.

Grill the zucchini slices, on both sides, until nice and tender, being careful not to burn them. Remove zucchini, dress with lemon juice, grated garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Grill chicken, around 10-12 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Grilled Chicken and Zucchini

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Baked Schnitzel with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Dipping Sauce

You are going to love me for this recipe!

It is easy, again, it takes 15 minutes in the oven, with minimal prep time.

It includes one of my faves – schnitzel – BUT WAIT, I made it healthier, instead of frying it in oil, it is baked to crispy perfection. And served along side a yummy fry substitute, perfectly roasted brussel spouts.

So when you say you don’t have time to cook, I challenge you to make this, 15 minutes and you will have an awesome meal. I promise!

Baked Schnitzel with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Dipping Sauce
Baked Schnitzel with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Dipping Sauce

Baked Schnitzel with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Dipping Sauce

for the schnitzel:

2 pork, veal or beef cutlets

1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 egg

salt and pepper

olive oil

finely chopped parsley [optional]

for the brussel sprouts:

1 lbs brussel spouts [approx 20-30] quartered

olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

finely chopped parsley [optional]

Preheat oven to 425F.

Lightly oil two rimmed cookie sheets. [sometimes I use one large one, half for the schnitzel, the other half for the brussel sprouts.]

For the schnitzel, pound out the cutlet until 1/4″ thin.

In a shallow large bowl mix together the egg and a splash of water, in another shallow dish mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan, and parsley if using.

Take schnitzel, dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, and again dip in egg, and bread crumbs, this will give you a nice crust.

Place schnitzels on the lightly oiled cookie sheet. drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil.

For the brussel sprouts, in a large bowl, toss together 1 tbsp of olive oil, brussel sprouts, salt and pepper.

Layer the brussel sprouts in single later on lightly oiled cookie sheet.

Place the schnitzel and brussel spouts in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

While in the oven, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and grated garlic [and parsley if using], with a touch of pepper.

To serve, squeeze some lemon juice on top of schnitzel, and serve along side crispy brussel spouts with the dipping sauce.

Baked Schnitzel with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Garlic Dipping Sauce

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Chickpea Salad
,

Canned beans are a staple in my pantry. I can throw together all the bits and pieces I have in my fridge and create an amazing quick salad.
I was going over to my parents this past weekend for lunch, and they needed some free labour cleaning up some [like the entire yard’s worth] of the branches they trimmed as part of their spring clean up. I offered to bring a salad for a side dish, and this is what came together.
It was a super fun day, of bundling wood, using a chain saw, getting scratches all over my legs and arms from the branches, and enjoying an awesome late steak lunch with this yummy salad.

This is the contraption my dad built to make it easier for us to bundle the branches…Genius!

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Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small jar of artichokes in oil, drained

20 or so cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 a cucumber, chopped

handfull of chives, finely chopped

a few sun dried tomatoes finely chopped

goats cheese or feta cheese for crumbling

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

squirt of agave syrup

salt and pepper

In the bottom of a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, agave salt and pepper.

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl, mix to combine.

Top with cheese.

Chickpea Salad

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