Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Woops! It’s been a little more than a month since I last posted. How time flies! We’ve been super busy around here. Most of my time has been occupied by studying for a big exam that’s coming up in December. I’m loving being a teaching assistant — I look forward every week to my two hour lecture.  I’m also taking a professionalization course and learning so many things about academia that I was unaware of before. And so much more! (I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had any free time!)

One of the recent highlights was a potluck with Bryan’s colleagues. I love potlucks because they’re a good time to showcase your best recipes. I also like when to see a large diversity of foods from other cultures. We had just the right recipe to fit the bill: Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole! It was perfect because I was able to find fresh Anaheim chile peppers at the grocery store that week, it’s difficult to find Mexican or Southwestern food here, it’s one of our favourite meals, and I was sure it was something that no one else would contribute to the potluck. (We also made Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup for ourselves while I was roasting all those chile peppers).

We had a fantastic evening full of good food and fantastic company! I hope we get an invitation to the next potluck despite that Bryan has now graduated.

I’m happy to report that the dish was well-received! We took one enchilada casserole with us to the potluck and kept one at home. Good thing I made extras, because there weren’t any leftovers to bring home.

Bryan’s Mom’s Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Changes from the original recipe:

  • The original recipe calls fora package of frozen “Bueno Hot Autumn Roast green chile.”  These chiles aren’t available here and the closet thing I can get is fresh Anaheim peppers.
  • The original recipe calls for wrapping some cheese and chicken in each of the (large size) tortillas. I could only find the small corn tortillas and opted for the casserole style used in Bryan’s Step-Father’s Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. Thus, all the cheese went into the sauce instead of reserving some to fill the tortillas.
  • The original recipe calls for a Mexican cheese blend. The blends that I found either have chili or jalapeño peppers in them, which I didn’t want because this dish is spicy enough as is… so I opted to make my own blend using Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
  • I doubled the quantities because we wanted lots of leftovers for lunch!

Green Chile and Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter– approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 (slightly rounded) tablespoons flour– approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt– approximate cost $0.05
  • 4 cups whole milk– approximate cost $3.00
  • 7 cups cheese (a blend of medium Cheddar and Monterrey Jack), shredded – approximate cost $9.00
  • 1 onion, chopping– approximate cost $0.75
  • 2.2 kilograms (4.85 pounds) fresh Anaheim (Green) chile peppers – approximate cost $20.00

Method

  1. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
  2. Roast the Anaheim chile peppers.
    1. Arrange the chiles in a roasting pan.
    2. Roast under the broiler for 5 minutes.
    3. Turn the chiles.
    4. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    5. Turn the chiles.
    6. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    7. Turn the chiles.
    8. Roast for an additional 5 minutes.
    9. Note: The chiles should be blackened on all sides at this point.
    10. Allow the chiles to cool.
  3. Peel the blackened skin off of the chiles.
  4. De-seed the chiles as necessary (more seeds = more heat).
  5. Chop the chiles into 1/4″ pieces and set aside.
  6. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat until melted.
  7. Turn down the heat.
  8. Stir flour and sea salt into the butter.
  9. Stir constantly until the flour dissolves.
  10. Add milk.
  11. Stir until hot, but not boiling (the sauce should be quite thick)!
  12. Add cheese blend.
  13. Stir frequently until melted.
  14. Add the roasted chile pieces.
  15. Remove from heat.

Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts – approximate cost $24.00
  • 48 small corn tortillas – approximate cost $1.80
  • Green chile and cheese sauce
  • Cooking oil– approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the chicken.
    1. Bake the chicken breasts until cooked through (about 15 minutes)
    2. Allow the chicken to cool until you can handle it.
    3. Chop the chicken into small, approximately 1/4″ pieces.
    4. Set chicken aside.
  3. Prepare the corn tortillas.
    1. Heat 1/4″ oil in a frying pan.
    2. Very lightly fry the corn tortillas.
    3. Place on paper towels as they come our of the frying pan to remove some of the oil.
  4. Assemble the casserole!
    1. Distribute half the fried tortillas into an even layer in the bottom of 2 9×13 baking dishes (it’s ok if they overlap).
    2. Top with half of the chicken.
    3. Smother with 1/2 of the green chile and cheese sauce.
    4. Distribute the second half the fried tortillas into an even layer in the baking dishes.
    5. Top with remaining chicken.
    6. Cover with remaining green chile and cheese sauce.
      1. Note: Once assembled, you can refrigerate the casserole and bake it at another time.
  5. Bake about 30-45 minutes, or until the sauce begins to bubble.
  6. Remove from oven.
  7. Let stand on the counter for a few minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy! (Optional: Serve with beans, rice, and flour tortillas)

Makes about 24 servings, or 2 9×13 casseroles (approximate cost: $2.51 per serving).

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Guest Post: Mediterranean Summer Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I love purchasing fresh local produce this time of year. Sometimes, the produce doesn’t even make it to the dinner table because I’ve eaten all of it as a snack! This happens every time I buy peas in the pod. I eat them all. Usually by myself. The cat will beg for them — my cat is strange, she loves to eat fresh green vegetables — and I’ll do my best to ignore her. Bryan usually comes home only to find a pile of empty shells… I tend to forget to save some for him as well.

I was quite excited, then, when Randi proposed the guest post I’m sharing with you today. Why? Because I love a delicious fresh salad and this one looks hearty enough to be a meal itself! And because tomorrow is Farmer’s Market day and I’m going to pick up some fresh produce to make this salad for lunch. Take it away Randi!


Author Bio: This is a guest post by Randi Leeds on behalf of Flavor Your Life. To get ideas on how to use olive oil please visit www.flavor-your-life.com.

A vibrant new campaign in support of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, “Flavor Your Life,” has launched in North America. It is jointly funded by the European Union, the Italian Department of Agriculture and Unaprol; the largest consortium of Olive growers in Italy. The goal of the campaign is to educate North American consumers and retailers on the importance of product origin and the quality level of the oil they use daily.

With all the recent controversy over the question “What IS EVOO,” this campaign aims to educate the North American consumer on the proper way to choose an extraordinary and tasty EVOO – from traceability to the origin of the product your purchasing.

There’s no better way to start summer off than with this tasty Mediterranean Salad, brought to you by the dynamic new campaign for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, “Flavor Your Life”.

Mediterranean Summer Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO Mediterranean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes sliced
  • 3 English cucumbers sliced
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables.
  2. Place the green vegetables on a chilled plate.
  3. Add the mozzarella and cover with the sliced tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle with capers and basil.
  5. Season with lemon juice, salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  6. Spoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over dish.

To get ideas on how to use olive oil please visit www.flavor-your-life.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook too.

Leibster Blog Award and Panko-Crusted Sole Fillets

A big thank you to Jon from The Local Kitchener who nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award! If you haven’t yet, check out Jon’s blog. I’m not sure how Jon came across my blog, but I am glad he did! We’re just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from each other. He is the first food blogger that I’ve met (online only) in the same(ish) city. I’m thrilled to meet another blogger in the area!

liebster-award

The Liebster award is a fun way of highlighting smaller blogs within the blogging community. Leibster, I’m told, German word meaning “beloved, dearest, lovely, etc.”

Here are the rules of the Leibster award as I understand them. The blog/blogger nominated for the award…

  • Answers 11 questions posed by the nominator. (In my case, Jon has given me 7)
  • Nominates 11 other blogs (with 200 or fewer followers)
  • Creates their own new set of questions for the nominees.

Some set of rules call for 11 questions and nominations… other for 5.

My questions and responses

  1. How would you describe where you live without naming any places?
    1. Hi-tech university town with lots of Canadian geese.
  2. When was the last time you wrote a letter (a real one, you know, that you sent in the mail with a stamp)?
    1. Do cards with a short message count? If so, just yesterday! If not… probably 6 or 7 years ago. My childhood best friend and I exchanged letters for many years before switching to Facebook.
  3. What is your favorite non-English word?
    1. Okonomiyaki — It’s a Japanese cabbage-pancake type dish.
  4. What (if any) blogs did you follow before you started blogging?
    1. I followed quite a few. I know I followed Jeanette’s first blog — she now maintains This Dusty House. And I definitely followed, and still follow The Kitchn.   I follow many many more since I started blogging.
  5. Do dogs belong in the city?
    1. Yes. I love dogs. I couldn’t imagine a city without them! In fact, just last night, I stopped to pet 3 wonderful and friendly dogs while walking to the post office and back. It made my day so much brighter! I could get carried away answering this one, but I’ll stop here.
  6. Are there any books that you have lent to more than one person (and if so, what is it called)?
    1. No. I don’t often lend books. I tend to need them for school. I’m also quite particular about their condition. However, there are quite a few that I could recommend from my own collection. Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Snowcrash by Neil Stephenson, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Menace by L.R. Wright, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling… and many many more! I’ve also got a huge list of books that I would like to read!
  7. Do you plan your meals in advance, or just “wing it”?
    1. A bit of both. I tend to plan, at most, a day ahead of time. We tend to have a full freezer with a good selection of meat and vegetables. If I remember, I’ll take food out of the freezer ahead of time. If not, it may mean a trip to the grocery store. It usually depends on how groggy I am in the morning! Often, I’ll have to make a quick trip to the grocery store to buy a few things I don’t have on hand.

Nominees

(I wish I could list all the lovely blogs that I follow. I’ve done my best to adhere to the 200 followers or fewer rule. However, in some cases, this information was not available.)

In no particular order…

  1. A Corso in the Kitchen
  2. Ginger Bakes
  3. Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
  4. RV Life and Food
  5. Cookaholic Wife
  6. Cook Lisa Cook
  7. The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
  8. Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  9. The Ranch Wife Chronicles
  10. From My Sweet Heart
  11. Bark Time = Everything and Nothing

Questions for nominees

  1. What 3 words would you choose to describe yourself?
  2. Do you have a blogging mentor who has made a huge difference along the way?
  3. Have you met any of your blogging friends in real life?
  4. What inspires you to continue writing your blog?
  5. What is your favourite family recipe?
  6. Which of your own blog posts are you most proud of?
  7. What is your favourite type of food?
  8. What is your favourite pastime?
  9. Where would you most like to go for your dream vacation and why?
  10. What is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If someone made a film about your life, who would you want to play you?

And now… as if this post wasn’t long enough already… here’s a recipe! I’ve been hanging on to this one for a while. I made it a while back and served the fish with an Asian-Inspired Bean Sprout Salad with Citrus and Soy Dressing. It’s not a family recipe. I didn’t really have a story to go along with it. This seemed like a good opportunity to share it with you. (It was delicious and I couldn’t not share this with the world!)

Panko-Crusted Sole Fillets

Ingredients

  • 4 sole fillets – approximate cost $6.00
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Rinse the fish in cold water.
  5. Place the fish in the panko mix.
  6. Cover with panko mix.
  7. Gently press the panko mix so it sticks to the fish fillet.
  8. Turn the fillet.
  9. Cover with panko mix.
  10. Gently press the panko mix so it sticks to the fish fillet.
  11. Move to a baking sheet.
  12. Bake until cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.91 per serving).

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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 – approximate cost $6.50
  • 3 heaping + 1 level tablespoons all-purpose flour – approximate cost $0.30
  • 4 ounces (red) guajilli molido chile powder – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • Approximately 1/2 cup canola oil – 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 – approximate cost $1.24
  • 12 yellow corn tortillas – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 cans of pinto beans (liquid reserved) – approximate cost $2.20
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded (cheddar, mozzarealla, and american cheeses) – approximate cost $4.00
  • Canola oil (for frying) – 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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Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This post is for my childhood best friend and her mom. I know you’ll be reading this and you’ve wanted to know the “secret” macaroni and cheese recipe for a while now (I put sectret in quote not because this recipe is secret… but because it’s one of those things I had to be in the kitchen to learn, there wasn’t a written recipe for a while). This recipe is my progress so far at imitating Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. It’s not quite as delicious as hers (yet). She jokingly told me last weekend that hers tastes better because of the added love. 🙂

To me, this is my all-time favourite comfort food. It reminds me of my childhood. When I was in grade school, Dad would pick my brother and I up from school during lunch hour and we would go visit Nana and Boppa (I had trouble saying Papa as a toddler and the nickname “Boppa”stuck). Nana always had a fantastic meal ready when we arrived. We ate lunch, visited, and Dad dropped us back at school on his way to work. Back then, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have a home-cooked meal every day. And to spend time with my family at every meal.

Nana’s repertoire seemed endless, I remember homemade soups (chicken noodle, cream of asparagus) and sandwiches (grilled cheese made with a sandwich press, ham, turkey, hot chicken with gravy). Lunch was rarely the same two days in a row.

My favourite was always the Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. This was Dad’s least favourite meal, so Matt and I would beg Nana to make it. And she would.

I miss those lunches. But it’s a fantastic memory! As we grew up, we went to different schools, Dad was moved to an office that was further away, and eventually Nana decided to move. We still try to get the family together on weekends for dinner when possible.

Over the years, I’ve tried my best to learn from Nana and imitate the recipe. You see, it was originally my Great Grandmother’s recipe and it had never been written down. Interestingly, Nana tells me that she and her sisters each have their own way of making the recipe. And each of them insists theirs is “just like mom’s” The differences are minor: the tenderness of the pasta before it is added to the casserole, the topping, the way you prepare the cheese, and whether or not you include the liquid from the canned tomatoes…

I hope to learn to make more family recipes, but this is the one that I hope to perfect soon!

Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried macaroni noodles – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1 sleeve salted top crackers – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1 796 mL can of whole tomatoes, undrained – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup milk (the type of milk has changed over the years, I currently use whole milk or 2%, Nana uses Skim or 1%) – approximate cost $1.33
  • 250 grams of medium cheddar cheese, cubed – approximate cost $3.50
  • 250 grams of medium cheddar cheese, shredded – approximate cost $3.50

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add the macaroni noodles.
  4. Boil the noodles for HALF of the recommended time (Nana calls this “parboiling”), about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.
  6. Add the noodles to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes into the mixing bowl with the noodles.
  8. Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.
  9. Add the tomato to the noodles.
  10. Add the cheese cubes and shredded cheese.
  11. Mix until well-combined.
  12. Pour the noodle mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish.
  13. Add the milk, egg, sea salt, and black pepper to the now empty mixing bowl.
  14. Mix the milk and eggs until well-combined.
  15. Pour milk mixture over the noodles (The noodles should be just covered, and it’s ok if a few tops of the pieces are not submerged. Add a bit extra milk if needed).
  16. Put the salted-top crackers in a plastic bag.
  17. Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers into fine crumbs.
  18. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the noodles, making sure to completely cover any exposed noodles so they do not dry out.
  19. Bake for 1 ½ hours (the edges should be slightly browned and the topping golden-coloured)
  20. Remove from oven.
  21. Allow the casserole to stand for 15-20 minutes on the counter.
  22. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost $1.40 per serving).

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Lobster and Egg Served Over a Potato Pancake

Breakfast is probably our favourite meal of the day.

I’m an early riser. Loki (my kitty) likes to be fed by 7am and wakes me up regardless of whether it is a day I can sleep in. (Loki purrs loudly to wake me up, it’s really cute. If I don’t wake up, she will paw my hair, which is my least favourite way to wake up). Bryan, on the other hand, prefers to stay up late. Loki likes to stay up late with him, snuggled in his lap while he is at the computer working. Luckily for us, these diverse schedules both work for graduate students.

Loki would like some breakfast too, please!

That said, our “breakfast” times do not frequently coincide. So, we enjoy breakfast meals at any time of the day. Actually, not that long ago I learned of the mash-up word “brinner” meaning breakfast foods served for dinner. The word hasn’t made it into our regular vocabulary yet, but I can see if happening sometime soon.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I made for a weekend brunch. It felt like it took quite a while to make… but it was worth the wait!

What is your favourite meal of the day?

Lobster and Egg Served Over a Potato Pancake

Potato Pancake

  • 1 ½ cups shredded potatoes  – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 egg  – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour  – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour  – approximate cost $0.25

Toppings

  • 4 eggs, cooked sunny-side up or over-easy  – approximate cost $1.20
  • ½ cup cooked lobster, shredded  – approximate cost $7.00
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded  – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 green onions, sliced  – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced  – approximate cost $0.60
  • 2 cloves garlic  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Cook the onion and garlic toppings.
    1. Preheat a frying pan and add a ½ teaspoons of the grapeseed oil.
    2. Add the sweet onion slices and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
    3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
    4. Make the potato pancakes.
      1. Combine the sea salt, black pepper, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl.
      2. Add the shredded potato and egg.
      3. Mix until well-combined.
      4. Preheat a frying pan and add the grapeseed oil.
      5. Add ¼ cup of the potato pancake mixture.
      6. Press the mixture down until it is about 1cm thick.
      7. Cook until golden.
      8. Flip.
      9. Cook until golden and cooked through.
      10. Set aside.
      11. Repeat steps e-j until the mixture is used up (makes about 4 pancakes).
      12. Cook the eggs (ours were sunny-side up, but over-easy would be awesome as well).
      13. Place a potato pancake on a serving plate.
      14. Top with lobster, onion and garlic mixture, cheddar cheese, egg, and green onion slices.
      15. Serve warm and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.25 per serving).

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AcroYoga Workshop and Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Over the weekend, I attended an AcroYoga workshop hosted by Queen Street Yoga. 3 hours of intense work-shopping. The workshop started with some of the less scary exercises to get us warmed up. Check out this super awesome people-stacking (plank pose)!

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

At one point, I tried to be the third person in the stack. Turns out it’s not so easy for a person of average height…

Chair pose – it was surprisingly hard to get to this pose, but fairly easy (at least for me) to maintain once there.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Transitioning from one pose to another was probably the most difficult part. It took a lot of strength (and trust) for both the “base” and the “flyer.”

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Throne pose was probably my favourite one to learn at this workshop. It was stable. As the “flyer,” there was a lot of stretching and core work.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

The class was so much fun! I got to catch up with a few of my yogi-friends before and after class. Learned some new yoga poses. Got a good workout. And most of all, had a lot of fun while learning! If you ever have an opportunity to try an Acro-Yoga class, give it a try! It’s very different from a more traditional class, but tons of fun.

Understandably, at the end of three hours I was exhausted… so I went to Dad’s for dinner (and had a long walk with the dogs). Thanks dad! I probably would not have made a nutritious dinner on my own that night, I very much appreciated having someone else cook for me. 🙂

What does this have to do with the dish I’m sharing today? Absolutely nothing. Except that, after this class, I was craving a meal that was both healthy and filling, which reminded me of this pasta that I made a few weeks back and am just getting a chance to share with you today.

Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Ingredients

  • 500 grams whole grain spaghettini – approximate cost $1.50
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.40
  • 6 slices of bacon, diced – approximate cost $3.00
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 3 fresh eggs – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 zucchini, sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 300 grams crimini mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Cook the bacon pieces in a wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the bacon pieces to a plate when crispy.
  3. Bring a pot of very salty water (about 4 tablespoons of sea salt) to a boil.
  4. Cook spaghettini according to package.
  5. Add diced onion to the wok, cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add minced garlic to the wok, cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  7. Add slices of crimini mushrooms, cook until softened (about 4 minutes).
  8. Add slices of zucchini and Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix, cook until softened (about 3 minutes).
  9. Return bacon to the wok and mix well with the vegetables.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Combine fresh eggs, Parmesan, and olive oil in a mixing bowl, whisk until completely combined.
  12. Place the cooked spaghettini in a large mixing bowl.
  13. Drizzle with the egg mixture, stirring constantly so the noodles are covered in the sauce and the egg cooks (pasta should still be hot).
  14. Add the vegetable and bacon mixture and mix thoroughly into the pasta.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 3 servings (approximate cost: $3.57 per serving).

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Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

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Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

These burgers are from a few weeks ago. I delayed posting them because I didn’t want all of my posts to be about burgers. I didn’t want you to get bored… and I didn’t want to get bored of writing about burgers. I’ve been making a lot of burgers in the last few months. I make burgers at work and then come home and make more burgers (mind you, mine are a bit more fun because I can put all kinds of ingredients in them).

These burgers in particular were not planned. They were a last minute “you’re leaving at what time and need burgers!?” creation. I was going to roast some Anaheim peppers and add them to the mixture, but there just wasn’t enough time. I hadn’t panned on adding bacon or onion for that matter. I wasn’t very happy with the burger mixture because I had to make last minute changes. Despite that, they were very good. Bryan took two over to a friend’s place to cook for dinner… he tells me everyone else thought they looked and smelled amazing.

I kept two at home for us. I was much less disappointed with the burgers once they were cooked and served for dinner.

Have you ever had to make an unplanned meal in a hurry? How did it turn out?

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 slices of bacon – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 slices of old cheddar cheese (about 200 grams) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cheese buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I baked it in the oven).
  2. Grate the red onion.
  3. Crumble the bacon.
  4. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  9. Serve on cheese buns with two slices of old cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Spanish onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Dill relish

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.79 per serving + toppings and condiments).

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Mouthwatering Mondays

Mushrooms Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onion

A few weeks ago, we spent a lovely day with our friend, W, and his girlfriend, S, who we were meeting for the first time. We had a lovely afternoon swimming and relaxing at the beach at a local conservation area. Afterwards, we cooked dinner on the barbecue. There was so much food: stuffed mushrooms, garlic loaf, chicken drumsticks, corn on the cob, mixed vegetables, and homemade cinnamon buns for dessert.

I have a bit of a control issue in the kitchen (not sure if this is surprising to other food bloggers). I’m used to doing everything by myself. I don’t often like having help and tend to be a bit bossy if you somehow convince me you should help. I’m working on getting over this, because I’d love to have Bryan, or friends for that matter, be in the kitchen with me more often and teach me a bit about their food preferences and cooking styles. I tried very hard at W’s home to not be my usual bossy self. Everyone had a part in preparing dinner.

We rarely have barbecued dinners. We have a small camping-sized grill, which is barely large enough to cook dinner for two. So, an entire dinner cooked on the barbecue was very much a treat for Bryan and I. I think the highlight of the meal, for me, was the stuffed mushrooms. I had a strong dislike for mushrooms growing up, and love when I enjoy them as an adult. They were delicious.

Also, the conversation about the mushrooms was hilarious. W isn’t a huge fan of onions and had complained earlier that there were a few too many onions in the mushroom stuffing for his liking (which I totally understand, onions were the other food I disliked as a child). I think S took a few out. Over dinner, everyone was complimenting S on the delicious stuffed mushroom (and they were much deserved compliments). However, Bryan wanted to tease W about his earlier comment by remarking that there were too many onions in his mushrooms… however, he must have remembered my usual dislike for mushrooms at the last second and instead commented on how there was too much mushroom in his mushrooms! Much laughter ensued.

After dinner, we learned to play a game called “Dice,” which was very fun and taught S how to play Euchre. Everything was amazing, company and food. We can’t wait to have another chance to hang out with W and S!

Recently, we tried to replicate the stuffed mushrooms… but we had mostly forgotten what was in them. So, instead of doing the logical thing, which would be to email S and ask, I decided to come up with a similar recipe. (The original recipe includes pizza sauce, I’ve used tomato pieces instead).

What’s your favourite recipe for stuffed mushrooms?

Mushrooms Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onion

Inspired by dinner with W and S

Ingredients

  • 6 large button mushrooms, washed and scrubbed – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped finely – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 6 slices (100 grams or so) old cheddar cheese – approximate cost $1.50

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler in your oven.
  2. Remove the mushroom stems so there is a hollow center in each of the mushroom.
  3. Discard the stems.
    1. Note: S chopped up the stems and included them in the stuffing mixture. I discarded them because there was too much stuffing already (and so I could tease Bryan about how I made sure there was less mushroom in his mushrooms this time).
  4. Combine the tomato and onion pieces, minced garlic, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Stuff each mushroom with some of the tomato mixture.
  7. Top each mushroom with a slice of cheese.
  8. Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and the mushroom begins to soften).
  9. Allow mushrooms to stand for a few minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.99 per serving).

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