Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nicole's "Grilled" Burritos

Thanks to Nicole for this amazing recipe!  Today is Morgan's birthday ... and she asked for these.  Really, Nicole, AMAZING.

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup salsa (if it's a more watery salsa, drain)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
10 pack flour tortillas
cooking spray

2 cups minute rice
2 cups boiling water
Juice of 1 1/2 limes, divided
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
salt to taste

Spray skillet with cooking spray and preheat to low.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the juice of one lime and two cups of minute rice.  Cover and remove from heat. 

Mix the first six ingredients together.  Warm tortillas for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Spray each side with cooking spray and fill with a large spoonful of the filling mixture.

Place seam side down in preheated skillet.  Press each burrito lightly with your spatula.

Once the burritos start to turn golden, flip and "grill" the other side.

Add the juice of the remaining 1/2 of a lime and 1/2 cup cilantro to the rice.  Stir in the cheese and add salt to taste.

Serve with your favorite chips and salsa (the rice is yummy on chips too).

Here she is!  The birthday girl ...
We all loved these little meatless burritos and will definitely be adding them to our regular menu!  We didn't even miss the meat!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Strawberry Salad

We are nearing the end of strawberry season here.  If you've never gone to an orchard to pick your own berries, plan to!  I don't think I've ever tasted such true, fresh flavor - it's completely different than the fruit you buy in the grocery store.

Tonight we headed to a BBQ.  BBQ = MEAT ... but, to stay on track with meatless week, I wanted to bring something that could stand on it's own as a meal (protein), yet, double as a delicious side salad.  I love adding fruit/berries into my salads ... but for this one, strawberries are magic.


1 head of green leaf lettuce or 1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 - 1 cup crumbled light feta
1 cup pecans (you can also use walnuts or candied nuts)
1 lb strawberries, trimmed and sliced
Perfect Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe below)

1/2 cup real mayo - light
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Add ingredients to a medium-sized jar or shaker.  Shake until combined.  I try and make it the night before serving so the flavors have time to develop.

Wash and spin the salad dry.  It's difficult to eat a slippery wet salad - gag.  I spin the oranges too because I don't like the added moisture.

Chop strawberries and onion.  I like to make a little assembly line so I can artfully plate each portion.

If you're taking the salad to a get-together, you can do an beautiful arrangement of ingredients in your serving bowl before you head out the door.  Toss with dressing just before serving (you might not need all the dressing).

The BBQ tonight was full of stories, laughter, and good food ... and at the end of day I received the greatest compliment a girl-who-loves-to-cook could ever get - I came home with an empty bowl.  Ahhh ... sweet and delicious success!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Veggie Kabobs and Fried Rice

I love the freshness summer brings!  The farmers market is bursting here in Southern Ontario, which was my inspiration for these yummy veggie kabobs.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 teaspoons tabasco
3 slices fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Veggies of your choice - Any color of pepper, red onion, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons canola oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 bunch green onion, white and green parts chopped and separated
5 cups cooked minute rice (add in a 10 oz can of organic vegetable broth as part of cooking water for flavor)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Chop veggies into large bite-sized pieces.  Feed onto skewers.  (TIP:  If you don't have reusable flat teflon skewers, use two bamboo skewers for each kabob - it keeps the veggies from twisting and makes them much easier to turn when they're on the BBQ.)

Mix together ingredients for the marinade.  Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute, just until it starts to boil.

Pour over kabobs and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the minute rice using the water/broth combo.  Set aside.  

Prep the ingredients for the rice, then preheat the BBQ to medium.  

Mix together ingredients for the dipping sauce.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Place kabobs onto the grill and baste with the leftover marinade.  Continue to baste as you turn them as well.  They will cook pretty fast ...

Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. (I did this on the BBQ side burner, since I was BBQing the kabobs anyway.)  Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil starts to bubble, add the eggs, which puff up really quickly. Allow to set about 5 seconds, then flip to finish cooking.  Be very careful not to overcook or the eggs will be dry.  When it's set, slide onto a dish and with the edge of the spatula, chop the eggs into small pieces. Set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to the wok and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil starts to bubble, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the white parts of the green onion and the rice.  Toss thoroughly until heated through. Add the soy sauce, pepper, and reserved eggs and toss.

Ahhhh!!  Dinner at sunset with Matt after a long day.

I really could get used to this way of eating.  I feel so much better and surprisingly, have more energy.  Even though I don't think I could be a permanent vegetarian, I've proved to myself I don't need as much meat as I thought - I'm definitely inspired.  Maybe my one meat-free week will turn into two?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homemade Waffles

Waffles are always a popular meal in our house - any time of the day!  This recipe is not too sweet, which makes it amazing with natural peanut butter, a few local blueberries and a little pure maple syrup drizzled on top.  Really, any seasonal berries would do.  This is definitely one of my summer craves ... and it's obviously meatless, so it fits right into our week of simple eating.

You do need a waffle iron, but they're pretty cheap.  We invested in one that would last because we do waffles at least once a week.  Waffles are easy, fast, cheap and always a crowd pleaser.

Homemade Waffles

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Mix together the first six ingredients.

Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir well.  (Perfect job for a helper :).)

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and fill with mix, but be conservative.  This recipe tends to expand.  My waffle iron has a timer, but most have a light that turns off.  Check often after the first few minutes since it depends on your particular waffle iron for the cooking time.

The waffles are done when golden and slightly crispy on the outside, but still soft and fluffy on the inside.  Add toppings of your choosing.  This recipe feeds our family of three - but if you have a few big eaters around your table, you might want to double the recipe.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Here's day two of meatless meals and I'm loving it!  Pizza on the grill - a huge favorite in our house.  You can choose white or multi-grain bread flour (we use multi-grain) ... and the dough is made the night before, so this meal comes together super fast after a long day's work.

Grilled Pizza

DOUGH (makes 3 pizzas):
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour (white or multi-grain)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup bread flour, plus more for the counter top
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can (28 oz) tomato puree or sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Cheese and toppings of your choice for 2 pizzas
1 can cherry, apple, peach or any other fruit pie filling of your choice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil (any light flavored oil will do)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pour the warm water into the mixer bowl, sprinkle in the salt, and add the flour (so the flour sits on top of the water). Make a hole in the top of the flour, and spoon the yeast into the hole. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes to moisten the flour. Fit mixer with the dough hook attachment.  Knead the dough on speed 2 for about 10 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup more flour and kneed until the dough is sticky, but elastic (about 5 more minutes). You could do all this in a bowl by hand as well - it just takes a little longer and a lot of muscle! Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

To prep the dough for baking, let sit on the counter for 20 minutes or so.  

In a small saucepan, mix together the ingredients for the sauce.  Simmer on low, stirring occasionally while you're waiting for the dough.  Remove from heat.
With a spatula, scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Divide into three equal parts (having a bench scraper really helps in this process ... if you don't have one, use the back side of a large knife).  Stretch dough to form an 8 inch circle (all the time, flouring to keep from sticking to the counter and to your fingers).  It is so important not to roll out the dough, but to stretch instead.

Place onto a greased pizza pan and continue to stretch until it reaches the edges.  The dough is soft, so it's pretty easy to work with.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees F, or BBQ to 600 degrees F.  We use our BBQ in the summer because it really heats up the kitchen.

Add sauce and toppings as desired.

I used the roasted garlic leftover from yesterday's recipe, red onion, fresh grated parmesan and mozzarella on one pizza, and green olives, fresh grated parmesan and mozzarella on the other.

Place on BBQ or in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

While you're waiting for the pizza, mix together crumble ingredients in a small bowl.

Check the pizza often after 5 minutes.  The crust is done when it's golden on the bottom.

Multi-grain crust is always a little darker too ...

I only have two pizza pans ... and room enough for 2 pizzas on the BBQ, so I have to wait until my savory pizzas are done and the pizza pan cools to make the dessert pizza (the pan usually needs about 3 minutes to cool once the pizza is removed).

Stretch and place the dough on the the pizza pan as directed above.  Spread with pie filling and spoon the bits of crumble all over the top.  Bake on the BBQ or in the oven, 5-8 minutes - same as the savory pizzas.

Cherry is Matt's favorite, so that's usually what we choose.  But you could use peach or apple, really any canned pie filling will do.

I really hope Morgan remembers all our crazy recipe adventures.  I hope that someday she can use these same challenges with her family ... and that she'll never be afraid and always make the effort to try new things, just like her crazy mama. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Roasted Garlic Broccoli Rotini

This week, as a family, we've agreed to go meatless.  Not only is it good for our bodies, it's also good for the wallet.  Meat alternatives are everywhere, but taste, texture and appearance can be a huge problem when you have a family to please.  So, I'm challenging myself to make simple recipes out of food we enjoy, yet somehow skip the meat.  Hopefully we can adopt this effort as a regular part of our menu.  We'll see how it goes ...

Roasted Garlic Broccoli Rotini

4 cups broccoli florets
8 oz bag of Rotini
2 heads roasted garlic
1/2 cup black olives, drained
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Begin by roasting your garlic.  Seriously it's SO EASY.  Check out my friend Andrea's blog for an excellent how-to on roasting garlic.  I need roasted garlic for tomorrow night's dinner too, so I made a little extra.  It's so yummy!!

Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a dutch oven or stock pot.  Chop broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.  Boil pasta and broccoli together until both are tender (8-10 min).  Drain and empty into serving dish.

Remove the roasted garlic from it's peel and squish with a fork.  Add to the pasta along with the black olives.  Drizzle olive oil over pasta, sprinkle in the cheese and stir.

Toss until cheese melts.

I reserved a tablespoon of the roasted garlic so Morgan could do her part for dinner - Garlic Bread!  She mixed it into a little margarine, and spread it on mini ciabatta bun halves.  We broiled them for a couple minutes and they turned out SO TASTY!

It was delicious success!!  We just enough left for lunch tomorrow afternoon.  One meatless meal down!  6 more to go ... :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Homemade Fries

Fries are one of my FAVOURITE comfort foods.  There's something so perfectly satisfying about hot,  crispy, salty spuds ... BUT, is that what you're getting when you place your order?  Well, of course you're getting "potatoes", kind of - but what about all those other hidden ingredients like hydrogenated oils, chemicals and preservatives added for freshness and texture?  Yeah ... GROSS.

So ... my love crispy goodness has led me here ... and believe me, these are the real thing.  I made them for Morgan's sleepover last weekend, and received the comment: "Mrs. Reaume, these are even better than McDs!!"

  • 4-5 large Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup oil (corn or canola - which ever you have in your deep-fryer)
  • Seasoning - my favourite is sea salt and pepper
Slice into sticks using a potato cutter.  (This one I bought at Canadian Tire made by Starfrit, but I'm sure they're everywhere).  We prefer thick cut, but you can do thin if you like them extra crispy.  As you slice, put the potato pieces into a large bowl of cold water to prevent browning and wash out some of the starch.

Preheat your oven broiler to 500 degrees.  (You could use a BBQ if you don't want to heat up your kitchen).  Also, preheat your deep fryer to 325 degrees.  Drain the potatoes and rinse them once more with cold water.  Pour oil over the slices and toss to coat. 

Spread onto a cookie sheet and broil for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes start to sweat and feel slightly tender.

Place potatoes in the deep fry basket, and fry for 30 minutes, tossing every 5-10 minutes for even crispiness.  It's great if you have a shelf on your BBQ to do this outside ... and even more perfect if you're making beer can chicken at the same time. :)

When potatoes reach perfection, empty onto a bed of paper towels and season.  This time we decided last minute to for-go the normal salt and pepper, and try this BBQ spice we picked up at Bass Pro on our last Kansas City trip, since we were using it on the chicken as well.

They were amazing!  Amazing ... Amazing ... Amazing ... ok, you get the idea - these are the best!