Bryan’s Step-Father’s Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole

Bryan and I don’t often go out of town. You might not guess because I’ve posted already this month about travelling to Northern Ontario. This time, the destination was much closer: Toronto. Bryan’s sister is currently living in Toronto and his step-father came for a visit, so we took the opportunity to finally visit. And we hope to visit his sister M again soon!!

We spent most of our day at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

I didn’t get any “good” shots of the group. Bryan and his step-father managed to make a “kissy-face” in every one! 🙂

Race time!

This is not my usual sort of activity. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about it as well. I brought a book with me just in case I was bored. Fortunately, that was not the case. I had such a great time with Bryan and his family. They’re a lot of fun to be around!

However, I think my favourite part of the day was dinner. We went back to M and C’s place in Toronto where Bryan’s step-father taught us how to make his Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. We all pitched in one way or another (despite the kitchen being a bit on the small side). The “kids” made guacamole while the “parent” worked on the Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. He went through the recipe with us step-by-step, explaining what he was doing and allowing for the occasional photo-op along the way.

The master chef showing us how to fry a corn tortilla.

There was enough left over that we got to bring some of the red chile home. I’ve since made another enchilada casserole. I’m so glad we documented the process… now we can make our own red chile sauce at home!

Red Chile

Bryan’s step-father’s recipe, posted with permission

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef â€“ approximate cost $6.50
  • 3 heaping + 1 level tablespoons all-purpose flour â€“ approximate cost $0.30
  • 4 ounces (red) guajilli molido chile powder â€“ approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder â€“ approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt â€“ approximate cost $0.05
  • Approximately 1/2 cup canola oil â€“ approximate cost $0.25
  • Water (about 6 cups)

Method

  1. Brown 1 lb ground beef in a large pot.
  2. Drain any liquid from the ground beef.
  3. Heat 1/4″ oil (approximately 1/2 cup) in a small frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Turn down the heat.
  5. Stir 3 heaping + 1 level tablespoons of flour into the oil
  6. Stir constantly until the flour dissolves.
  7. Add 4 ounces of (red) guajilli molido chile powder.
  8. Stir until it becomes a thick paste.
  9. Add chile paste to ground beef.
  10. Fill the pot to about half with water (about 6 cups).
  11. Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of sea salt.
  12. Bring to boil and let the sauce thicken.
  13. Stir frequently.
  14. Remove from heat and divide into three batches.

Makes 3 batches of red chile (approximate cost: $3.73 per serving).

Red Chile Enchilada Casserole

Also Bryan’s step-father’s recipe, posted with permission

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red chile â€“ approximate cost $1.24
  • 12 yellow corn tortillas â€“ approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 cans of pinto beans (liquid reserved) â€“ approximate cost $2.20
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded (cheddar, mozzarealla, and american cheeses) â€“ approximate cost $4.00
  • Canola oil (for frying) â€“ approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Heat 1/4″ oil in a frying pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Very lightly fry 6 yellow corn tortillas.
  4. Place on paper towels to remove some of the oil.
  5. Pour 1/2 juice from the can of pinto beans into a 9×13 baking dish (it should coat the bottom of the dish).
  6. Distribute the fried tortillas into an even layer in the baking dish (it’s ok if they overlap).
  7. Pour the can of pinto beans (and remaining liquid) on top of the tortillas.
  8. Top with 2 ladles of chile sauce (about 1 cup).
  9. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  10. Repeat steps 3-9 to make a second layer on the enchilada casserole.
  11. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese and sauce begin to bubble.
  12. Let stand on the counter for a few minutes.
  13. Serve and enjoy! (Optional: Serve with flour tortillas to soak up any extra sauce)

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.35 per serving).

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Cookbook Review Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food, by Nisa Burns

Today, I’m sharing with you my first ever cookbook review! for my first review, I chose a cookbook that reflects my goals for this blog. The cookbook shares easy to make, affordable, and nutritious foods and is directed towards university/college-level students who are living on their own for the first time.

Kitchenability 101:

The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food

By Nisa Burns

ISBN: 0985643005

List price: $17.95

Synopsis

Kitchenability 101 is a book after my own heart. Author Nisa Burns, recently a student herself, writes about healthy, affordable, and easy to make recipes for students (both who are experienced or new to cooking)

Overview

The book is divided into seven chapters that help the reader choose the right food for the right occasion:

  • Orientation
  • Wake-Up Call
  • Grab and Go
  • Choose Your Major
  • Amazing Grazing
  • Cram Sessions and Study Groups
  • Party!

The orientation section is especially helpful for beginner cooks. It lists the equipment you will need (indicating whether it is appropriate for a kitchen or a dorm room), cooking techniques you will use for the recipes in this book, and other very helpful information. It reminded me that I really need to buy a whisk!

The recipe sections are very well thought out to accommodate the student lifestyle. The Wake-Up Call section is filled with quick, easy, and healthy breakfasts, the Grab and Go section features easy to make food that you can take to class, meetings, etc. The Choose Your Major and Amazing Grazing sections feature main course meals (likely intended for dinner, but great whenever you have time to make them). The Cram Sessions and Study Groups and Party! sections feature foods that you would make in large batches and is easy to share.

Because this book has a strong focus on sharing food with others and is directed towards new cooks, I would have liked to see a bit more about common food-related allergies or intolerances. This sort of information could help the reader identify which foods are or are not acceptable for a particular occasion.

Writing style

I love the way that Nisa introduces each recipe. That is, each one is introduced with a short personal narrative about the context in which she prepared and served the recipe. For example, the Pumpkin Muffins, which I’ve tested and will share with you later in this post, she tells the reader about a Halloween party she attended with her boyfriend, the costumes they wore, and the food they contributed. This story is very relatable for the reader because of the common scenario and her casual writing style. Her casual approach to writing helps make the recipes seem feasible for the readers. In fact, I chose to bake the pumpkin muffins first because I find baking challenging, and second because Nisa made them sound so easy to prepare, I figured that even I could make these and it would turn out alright.

Recipes

I love the way that Nisa has thoughtfully organized each recipe. Most recipes have a three-page layout. The first page (on the left side of the book) is a list of ingredients, the second page is a vibrant and gorgeous photo of the final product, and the third page is the directions. Why do I like this setup? Because it makes it easy to have the book in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking. With the essential information on the left side of the book, you can place an object on the right side of the book to hold it open while you work, making easy to refer back to the ingredients and instructions pages.

In addition, the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The cooking techniques are common and written in plain language. And the ingredients are all common, easy to find items that a student could likely afford to purchase at their local grocery store.

Testing a Recipe

Now for the fun part of the review… I tested the Pumpkin Muffin recipe!

As I’ve mentioned many times before, baking is not my specialty. I tend to stick to cooking meals and will avoid making a dessert or breakfast that involves ingredients such as flour, baking powder, sugar, etc, in combination.

So why, then, did I choose to make these muffins? Because it was a challenge, because I consider myself a beginner in this category, and because I wanted to see whether Nisa’s recipe and directions could help me become a better baker.

I stuck to the exact recipe. I had most of the ingredients readily available in my pantry or fridge. I did have to add cream cheese to my grocery list for the week because it’s something I normally don’t keep on hand.

I made the muffins first thing in the morning before a day full of classes and left them on the counter to cool all day. The cat knows not to get on the counters, so I wasn’t worried that she would be interested and sneak a taste. Instead, when I got home, Bryan greeted me at the door telling me how wonderful the pumpkin muffins were. Oops! I had forgotten to mention to him that they were not ready for sampling. No worries though, it was just one.

How could I be upset? I was already ecstatic that they had turned out! They were perfectly cooked through, moist, and no lumps of flour. Hooray!

I made the frosting that evening and frosted the muffins (leaving a few unfrosted just in case) and then put the muffins to the test!

One for myself, one for Bryan, and I packed one up to share with a classmate.

I thought the frosting was too sweet (and I was a bit worried about the possible negative effects of the dairy with my lactose sensitivity). However, the unfrosted muffins were amazing and I enjoyed them very much. Bryan enjoyed the muffins either way. He liked them without the frosting as a breakfast food and with the frosting for a snack or dessert. My classmate tried the frosted muffin and loved it! She even asked if I could share the recipe with her. I assured her it would be making an appearance on the blog.

My overall impression of the recipe?

  • Easy to make
  • Ingredients I would (mostly) have on hand and are readily available at the store
  • Delicious (and moist) snack for breakfast or dessert
  • Recipe is clear and easy to follow
  • Smells delicious when baking and it was nice to come home to the smell permeating my apartment
  • Looked very pretty without too much effort (remember, I’m not great at baking, so I don’t have much experience decorating baked goods)

And, at long last, here is the recipe!

Pumpkin Muffins

Recipe is posted with permission from PR by the Book – Austin

What You Need

To make the muffins

  • 3 1/3 cups flour – approximate cost $1.75
  • 2 tsp baking soda – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 eggs – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 tsp cinnamon – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tsp nutmeg – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger or a dash or dried – approximate cost $0.10

To make the frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese – approximate cost $2.50
  • Splash of milk – approximate cost $0.05
  • 3 or 4 cups powdered sugar – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tsp vanilla – approximate cost $0.50

What You Do

As with any cake batter, you mix the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients. Then you mix the dry and wet ingredients together by slowly adding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Don’t try to mix them all together at one or your batter will be lumpy with bubbles of unmixed ingredients. Believe me, a bit of baking soda or salt is gross!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Slowly add the sugar to the wet mixture, along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  4. Once all is mixed well, add the dry ingredients by half-cupfuls to the wet ingredients. Use an electric mixer on low to make sure the batter is completely mixed.
  5. Place paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin, then pour the batter into the muffin holders. Each should be about two-thirds full.
  6. Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, until they have risen. Use a knife to check the center; if it pulls out clean, they are done.
  7. While the muffins are in the oven, make the frosting. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and add a splash of milk for a smoother consistency. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer.
  8. Once the cream cheese mixture is smooth, slowly add the powdered sugar and mix.
  9. Add the vanilla, and mix again until smooth.
  10. When the frosting is at a spreadable consistency, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
  11. Once the muffins are done, let them cool for approximately 40 minutes. Do not frost the muffins right away, or the heat will melt the frosting.
  12. Frost each muffin.

Makes one dozen muffins (approximate cost: $0.95 per serving).

Maybe I have a smaller thank average muffin tin, because this made 18 muffins (approximate cost: $0.63 per serving)!

Summary

But the big questions are: Would I recommend this cookbook? Would I make these muffins again?

Yes, I would, to both. This book is a great introduction to home cooking for students. It tells you what you need to start out depending on your living situation, features easy to make recipes, and readily available ingredients. Perhaps not as intentional, the recipes are affordable for students. While the recipes are mostly directed towards students who are learning to cook, there is much to offer for those who already know how to cook but are looking for recipes that are healthy, affordable, or just new to the reader. In addition, the book is affordable for its intended audience. It’s something a student could afford on their own or ask a family member to purchase for them at the next upcoming occasion.

As Nisa suggests, her Pumpkin Muffins are a great party food. I would make a double batch of the muffins to share with others (half frosted, half not to suit a variety of tastes). I would make them just for Bryan and I to pack with our lunches or as a quick breakfast before catching the bus to school.

Overall Rating

4.5/5

Want more?

Check out Nisa’s website, Facebook Page, Twitter Profile and YouTube Channel

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon with Caribbean Salsa

Normally, I don’t follow dinner recipes very closely. Usually, once I decide what it is I want to eat, I find out what I have in the fridge and pantry then make something work. Sometimes, I’ll make a quick trip to the grocery store if I’m missing something essential, but usually not.

When I picked up the salmon, I didn’t really have a plan in mind for it. I was feeling uninspired when I got home. I didn’t feel like making our usual lemon, butter and dill salmon. I didn’t have sliced almonds to make dad’s recipe. So, I started searching the Internet for a few ideas. That’s when I came across the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes from FoodNetwork.ca. This was just what I was looking for! Something different than the usual, yet interesting, and better yet, quick to prepare. Even more unusual, I liked everything about the recipes and didn’t feel compelled to change it drastically.

This salmon and salsa was an exception to our normal dinners. I bought the salmon, found the recipe, made a shopping list, made another trip to the grocery store, and followed the recipe (for the most part, I left out the salt and pepper in the crusted salmon and left the skin on the salmon). I bought fresh cilantro (when I would normally use dried) and fresh pineapple (instead of canned) as the recipes suggest. The place where I “cheated” was with the limes. I bought lime juice instead of squeezing limes.

Was this meal worth the extra money for fresh ingredients? Definitely! Would I make it again? For sure! However, Bryan and I both agreed to use half of a red onion instead of the whole onion next time.

Our only complaint? You need lots and lots of salsa to go with the fish. The fish is nothing to write home about on its own. But when paired with the salsa it is amazing!

Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon with Caribbean Salsa

Both the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes are from FoodNetwork.ca (with slight modifications)

Ingredients

Salmon

  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut – approximate cost $1.00
  • 5 salmon fillets, skin on – approximate cost $15.00

Salsa

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed – approximate cost $2.50 (purchased at a reduced price, the pineapple was very ripe)
  • 1 red onion, diced – approximate cost $1.10
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, minced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/4 cup olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup lime juice – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used sriracha) – approximate cost $0.05

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $4.58 per serving).

Note: Both the Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon and the Caribbean Salsa recipes are from FoodNetwork.ca (with slight modifications). I have listed the ingredients here to show the affordability of the meal. Please visit FoodNetwork.ca for the full recipes.

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From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

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Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake

This week, I wanted dessert, but didn’t want to bake. I wanted to use seasonal ingredients. I wanted something that wasn’t overly sweet…. Then I came across Kris’ recent blog post for Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake. Yum!

So far, Bryan hasn’t been a fan of raw desserts. I had him taste test raw apple pie in cupcake tins, raw banana coconut “creme” cake, raw apple cobbler, and raw apple crumble. He gave it a try and ate a whole serving of each, but wasn’t a fan. The apple dishes, however, he enjoyed if we heated them up. He hasn’t tried this cake yet. I’m not going to force him to try it (more for me, right?).

We actually had a discussion about these desserts on Saturday after announcing my intention to bring raw brownies to a potluck on Sunday. Dad didn’t like the sound of them. I couldn’t figure out why he was so opposed to the idea without even trying it first! (What’s not to love about a healthier version of the traditional brownie?) Apparently, there are people out there who don’t like dates! I’ve always enjoyed them, so this comes as a bit of a surprise to me that people don’t like the flavour of them.

I guess what I’m getting to is, this dessert is delicious, if you enjoy the ingredients listed. To me, it’s as delicious as Kris promises!

What is your stance on raw desserts? Love them? Hate them? Still need to try them?

Because I have not adapted this recipe, I will list the ingredients and approximate cost. I’ve also taken photos of the process. However, please visit Kris’ blog for the full recipe and directions.

Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake

Recipe by Kris from Layakari Yoga

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup raw almonds – approximate cost $1.75
  • 3/4 cup (about 12) pitted Medjool dates – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews – approximate cost $7.00
  • 2 quarts strawberries – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 lemons, juiced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – approximate cost $0.25
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar – approximate cost $0.50

Notes

  • Soak cashews for at least 6 hours (overnight) and rinse twice before processing.
  • Use fresh, local berries if possible.
  • Substitute strawberries for another berry of your choice to change thing up.
  • Reserve some of the fruit as a topping.
  • Agave is not as thick as honey, be careful when measuring it.
  • Slice pie into individual servings, wrap in foil, and re-freeze for an easy dessert (lasts up to one week in the freezer).
  • Thaw pie (slices) for about 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $2.82 per serving).

Visit Kris’ blog post for directions on how to prepare this fantastic cake!

Halibut with Espellete Crust and Sultana Raisins from Relish Cooking Studio

This is the last post in the series from the Sustainable Seafood class. And what a class! If you missed the previous posts, check out the Fresh Fish Chowder, Arctic Char Meunière, and Steamed Mussels in Coconut Milk. Much like all the other recipes at the class, this one too was wonderful!

The espellette pepper was also quite interesting. I hadn’t tried it before this class. It was very tasty and not overly spicy. It was also very pretty!

I think my favourite part of this recipe, however, is the raisins marinated in Earl Grey tea. They’re tasty as part of the dish or as a snack!

A big thank you once again to Chef Mark Brown for teaching the Sustainable Seafood class and for allowing me to post all of his recipes on this blog! Another big thank you to Relish Cooking Studio for offering the class in their lovely studio kitchen in Uptown Waterloo. Both classes that I’ve attended were fantastic experiences! Check out their list of upcoming classes if you’re interested in attending one!

Halibut with Espellete Crust and Sultana Raisins

Recipe by (and posted with permission from) Chef Mark Brown, demonstration at Relish Cooking Studio

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets of halibut (or pickerel), belly meat and skin removed – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds, toasted – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tablespoons espellette pepper – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 tablespoon butter – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon paprika – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 bag earl grey tea – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisins – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cup water

Method

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and brew the earl grey tea.
  2. Add the raisins to the cup of tea and allow to marinate and cool to room temperature (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a small pan, melt the butter,
  5. Gently sautée the espellette and paprika for 1 minute and remove from heat.
  6. In a medium bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and ground almond.
  7. Mix in the spiced butter.
  8. Season with salt.
  9. Pour the mixture onto a sheet pan and allow to cool.
  10. Gently coat the fish fillets with the espellette crust and reserve until ready to bake.
  11. Bake the crusted fish for approximately 7 minutes (or until just cooked through).
  12. Serve with the marinated raisins, and sautéed chantrelle mushrooms (oyster, crimini, and shiitake mushrooms sautéed with butter and terragon), or other roasted vegetables.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.89 per serving).

Chocolate Power Balls

I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. Yes, I realize this is shocking to many. I preface with this comment so you won’t be surprised when I confess that I haven’t re-made this dish after the Raw Desserts Workshop. And it will probably be a few more months before I decide to try this again. Don’t get me wrong, it very tasty and a healthy enough treat that you could eat it for breakfast! It’s just too chocolatey for my tastes.

These chocolate power balls are very similar to the Raw Chocolate Truffles with Cashew Kream that Janne and I prepared at the Raw Food Workshop in October (image is from that workshop).

You can make a batch of this chocolatey dessert in about 10-15 minutes!

Chocolate Power Balls

Recipe by RAW food chef Renee Shaidle

chocolate power balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1/2 cup walnuts – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup cacao – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 avocado – approximate cost $1.00
  • 8-10 dates – approximate cost $2.75

Method

  1. In a food processor, blend walnuts and almonds for about 30 seconds.
  2. With the food processor still running, add coconut, cacao, salt, and avocado.
  3. When the ingredients are well mixed, add the dates to create a sticky consistency. Continue to process until all ingredients are mixed well.
  4. Divide the mixture into 1 tsp portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a ball.

Makes about 15 servings (approximate cost: $0.50 per serving).

If you want, roll the power balls in nut pieces for a variation on this recipe. At the workshop, I coated mine in raw cashew pieces.

Raw Banana Coconut Cream Cake

This was my favourite dessert that we/Renee prepared at the workshop. It’s sweet, as most desserts tend to be. But it isn’t overly sweet. The tartness of the lime adds just enough sour flavour to counter the sweetness of the dates and the agave nectar.

When I made this cake at home, I was so happy with the outcome that I decided to share it with my family. However, I didn’t tell them that the dessert was raw/vegan. The cake had become so frozen that I wasn’t able to cut it. So we had to wait almost an hour after dinner before we were able to enjoy the dessert.

Their reaction? Everyone ate their cake without complaint and the dogs begged for the cake. My stepmother shared her last two bites, one for each dog (this is not unusual). My dad, brother, and I enjoyed our cake, but didn’t share. Everyone said thank you and we went about our night. All of the plates were clean. I think they liked it too!

Raw Banana Coconut Cream Cake

Recipe by RAW food chef Renee Shaidle

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup walnuts nuts (the original recipe calls for macadamia nuts, I substituted walnuts to helps keep down the cost) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup cashews – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/2 cup shredded dry coconut – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 10 dates (or â…“ cup raisins) – approximate cost $2.75
  • Pinch of sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Banana layer

  • 3-4 bananas – approximate cost $1.50

Filling

  • 1 cup fresh coconut meat (or 1/2 cup coconut cream and 1/2 cup cashews) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon agave nectar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 lime – juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 bananas, sliced – approximate cost $0.75

Method

  1. Prepare the crust
    1. Blend the macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut, coconut oil, and sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Add dates slowly to mixture until the crust becomes sticky (use more or less than recommended depending on your crust).
    3. Line a cake or pie pan with plastic wrap.
    4. Press crust mixture into an even layer in the pan.
    5. Place crust in freezer and chill for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the filling
    1. Blend the cashews and sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time (coconut or coconut cream, coconut oil, agave nectar, lime juice, vanilla, and banana slices)
    3. Blend all ingredients until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Prepare the banana layer
    1. Slice the bananas into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Put it all together
    1. Take crust out of the freezer and place the bananas slices evenly on top of the crust.
    2. Pour the filling on top of bananas and spread into an even layer.
    3. Place assembled cake into the freezer for 3-4 hours to set.
    4. Remove from freezer.
    5. Decorate with coconut flakes.
    6. Serve immediately.


Makes about 9 servings (approximate cost: $1.88 per serving).

Happy Thanksgiving! Rosemary Roasted Turkey, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Garlic Peas, and Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is that wonderful time of year when I get to visit with my extended family and enjoy their wonderful cooking. And this year is no exception. Because I don’t cook any of the meals for this occasion, I’m sharing the Thanksgiving meal that I prepared for the American Thanksgiving celebration last year.

I prepared my very first Thanksgiving meal last November. The dinner turned out pretty well, actually! Sorry, no horror stories of a burnt turkey here. I was worried about the amount of work and timing, but everything seemed to fall together nicely. All of the recipes are from one of my favourite recipe websites, allrecipes.com (Except for the salad, which is my former roommate’s recipe). Our menu consisted of: Candied Sweet Potatoes,  Garlic Peas, Spinach salad with dried cranberries, almonds, and raspberry vinaigrette, and Rosemary Roasted Turkey.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

These candied sweet potatoes were another wonderful dish, though not very healthy. The sweetness was a nice offset to the savory turkey. This dish was received so well that I decided to make a second serving the next day so we could enjoy it with our leftover turkey.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 sweet potatoes  – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/2 cup butter  – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 cup water

Makes 6 servings – approximate cost $1.00 per serving (See allrecipes.com for the complete recipe).

Garlic Peas

Mmmmmmm garlicky. Our guests are not fond of onions so I omitted them from the recipe. The peas were delicious without; though I’m sure adding onions would also be tasty. This dish had a very strong garlic flavour, which we all loved. If you like garlic, but want a milder version I’d suggest starting with one clove and adding more as needed.

Green peas

Green peas

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 onion, chopped  – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  – approximate cost $0.40
  • 16 ounces frozen green peas  – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 tablespoon condensed chicken stock  – approximate cost $0.20
  • salt and pepper to taste  – approximate cost $0.10

Makes 6 servings – approximate cost $0.76 per serving (See allrecipes.com for the complete recipe).

Spinach salad with dried cranberries, almonds, and raspberry vinaigrette

This salad is something I learned to make from a former roommate. I realized the day after that I forgot one ingredient, goat’s cheese. However, even without the cheese the salad was tasty. I’m not sure where the recipe came from, but it is delicious! This is a wonderful salad for those who “don’t like vegetables.”

Spinach salad

Spinach salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large handfuls of baby spinach  – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 scoops of dried cranberries  – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 scoops of sliced almonds (unsalted)  – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon of crumbled goat cheese  – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 teaspoons of raspberry vinagrette  – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Divide all ingredients (evenly) between four salad bowls.
  2. Toss to coat ingredients with dressing.

Makes 4 servings – approximate cost $1.56 per serving.

Rosemary Roasted Turkey

A few years ago, I had tried to make this same recipe. My first attempt was a disaster! I didn’t know to cover the turkey while it baked and it was quite crispy and dry when it came out of the over. Despite my failed first attempt, I remembered that what was salvaged from the meal was tasty, so I decided to try it again (I even splurged for fresh herbs). This recipe was quite a bit of work, but turned out fantastic! I will definitely be using this recipe again.

Fresh Rosemary and basil

Fresh Rosemary and basil

Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey – approximate cost $12.00

Makes 10 servings – approximate cost $1.76 per serving (See allrecipes.com for the complete recipe).

Honey Ginger Balsamic Glazed Beets

Honey, ginger, balsamic, and beets. As individual items, this list looks rather tasty. I could imagine the flavor of beets with any one of the other ingredients as a topping. But all three? Seems like an odd combination.

Usually I serve beets boiled and topped with some butter. I had fresh beets from the farmer’s market and wanted to try something different. These were fresh as opposed to canned, so it seemed appropriate to try something more elaborate.

I came across the Honey Ginger Balsamic Glazed Beets recipe from The Kitchn, which boasted that “[a]dding honey and upping the sweetness of this dish is a good way to introduce beets to the haters.” This sounded promising when I had many recipes to choose from and very little direction other than, not plain beets with butter. The author of the article, Dana Velden, explains that the honey is an optional ingredient if you already enjoy beets.  I opted to include the honey anyway.

I also took a few short cuts, which seemed to work out well enough. I was too impatient to roast the beets in the oven, so I put them in a microwave-safe dish filled with about an inch of water and microwaved the beets for 5 minutes, turned them, and then microwaved them for an additional 5 minutes. The beets were soft enough that I was able to peel off the skin with a paring knife. This cut the initial cooking time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes, making it possible for this to be part of a week-night meal. I took another shortcut by using ginger from a jar. This didn’t save as much time, but is more for money saving purposes. I don’t cook with ginger often, so having the option of it lasting a few months in a jar seems more economical than buying fresh ginger root. I also used dried basil instead of fresh.

The result? See for yourself:

Honey Ginger Balsamic Glazed Beets

See the original recipe: Honey Ginger Balsamic Glazed Beets recipe from The Kitchn

Honey Ginger Balsamic Glazed Beets

This dish looked, smelled, and tasted delicious. Even with shortcuts, it still felt like it took a while to prepare. But it was delicious. The time and effort was, in my opinion, worth the result.

Ingredients

Beets – approximate cost $2.00
Butter – approximate cost $0.10
Ginger – approximate cost $0.25
Balsamic vinegar – approximate cost $0.25
Honey – approximate cost $0.25
Dried basil leaves – approximate cost $0.05

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $0.73 per serving).

Want to try this recipe for yourself? See the original recipe on The Kitchn.

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