Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

a great thick dish with double the meat.

Recipe adapted from Brennan’s in New Orleans

My oh my, what a great dish. Thick, meaty, and just enough sauce to hold everything together, this makes for a great Sunday dinner. Now you’re probably thinking it’s spicy because it’s “Jambalaya”, but don’t let that stop you. You can easily change up the sausages flavour for something more to your liking and switch out the cayenne for paprika. What’s also great is that you can cook this all up in one dish which makes clean up super easy, especially on a Sunday. Serve yourself up a bowl of greens before you dig in and you got yourself a great meal.

Serves 6

Ingredients
– 1/3 cup unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup white onions, chopped
– 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
– 1/2 cup celery, chopped
– 1 TBS garlic, minced
– 1/2 half cup scallions, chopped
– 1 1/2 cups uncooked chicken, diced
– 1 1/2 Andouille (or other spicy smoked) sausage, sliced
– 2 cups fresh or canned whole tomatoes
– 1/2 cup tomato paste
– 1 cup chicken stock
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 cup uncooked rice, rinsed

Tools
– Large ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven. I usually add in a piece or two of onion to test and see when the butter is hot enough. Once it’s ready, add in the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over medium high heat until tender.

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Stir in the scallions, chicken, and sausage. Sauté the mixture for an additional 5 minutes so that all the flavours can combine, and then add the remaining ingredients, except the rice.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the rice and cover the pan. Place in the oven until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Check in occasionally during cooking to star the jambalaya. Fluff the cooked jambalaya with a fork, and remove the bay leaf. For some extra spice, serve this dish up with some Tabasco sauce. SPICY!

What are your favourite kinds of ways to add spice or heat to a dish? Share your spicy ways below in the comments.

Bolognese Meat Sauce

low and slow is the key
to making the best meat sauces.

Recipe adapted from “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”

I’ve always loved bolognese meat sauce since I was a kid. Of course, my mother used to just take a jar of regular pasta sauce, brown some ground beef, and then throw it all together, but even that was heaven to me back then. Now that I’m older, I really appreciate the richness of a good bolognese meat sauce. It’s so simple in a sense that when I’m out for dinner and I see it on the menu I want to disregard it, but it’s become such a comfort food to me that I rarely can’t ignore it.

So with that said, I’m really happy to share this bolognese meat sauce recipe with you. I let it cook for like 4 hours. Just letting it cook down, adding more water, letting it cook down again. I kept tasting it along the way and it just better and better. The nice thing is that if you don’t have 3 to 4 hours in a stretch, you can turn off the heat whenever you need to leave and pick up where you left off later as long as your complete the sauce within the same day. And as with almost all pasta sauces I think, it freezes really well.

What’s your favourite pasta & sauce combo? Does yours take hours to cook down to make it amazing? Share your stories below in the comments.

Serves 2 heaping cups, for about 6 servings and 1 1/2 pounds pasta

Ingredients
– 1 TBS vegetable oil
– 3 TBSs butter plus 1 TBS for tossing the pasta
– 1/2 cup chopped onion
– 2/3 cup chopped celery
– 2/3 cup chopped carrot
– 3/4 pound ground beef chuck (anything but lean beef)
– Salt
– Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
– 1 cup whole milk
– Whole nutmeg
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 1 1/2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
– 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta, traditionally tagliatelle or pappardelle
– Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table

Tools
– Dutch oven

Directions
Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.

Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red colour.

Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating, about 1/8 tsp, of nutmeg, and stir.

Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface.

Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the TBS of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.

Gingerbread Spice Dutch Baby

have you ever had one? Well it’s time you begun!

Recipe adapted from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman

Mmmmm what is that you say? You’ve never heard of a Dutch baby before? Well get in line, cause I said the same thing. Now I wish they had been with me for years. They’re basically a large size pancake that curls up on the edges from being in the pan. They taste like French toast, except in pancake form. You’d think you could eat like 3 of these, but one is pretty good for 2 people. Traditionally served with lemon, butter, and powdered sugar, you could also add fruit or whatever tickled your fancy. The nice thing about this is you whip these up one by one so as people wake up you can make the nice and fresh instead of having to figure out how to keep them warm.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to kick things up a few notches, try this amazing sounding Caramel Apple Dutch Baby from Seasons & Suppers. Looks amazing!

Makes one 9-inch pancake

Ingredients
– 2 large eggs
– 1 TBS dark brown sugar
– 1 tsp molasses
– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp ground ginger
– pinch of ground cloves
– 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1/3 cup whole milk
– 2 TBS unsalted butter

Tools
– Blender
– Oven safe skillet

Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Run the eggs in a blender until they are pale in colour. Add the remaining ingredients except the butter and confectioners’ sugar, and process until smooth. Be sure to coat the entire pan and swirl it up along the sides so everything is coated.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a plate and serve.

I love having my pancakes with maple syrup. You can also use powdered sugar or maybe a drizzle of heavy cream. How do you like to gobble up your pancakes? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

Arugula with Avocado, Oranges & Feta

two of my favourite things.

Recipe Adapted from In the Kitchen with Anna Olson

What a super easy salad with some great flavours. You could always swap out the oranges, with different fruit like blackberries, raspberries, what ever you like. I like using oranges as they really pop with colour. This salad is so easy and delicious, it’s my go to salad.

Serves 6

Ingredients
– 2 bunches or 6 cups arugula, washed and trimmed
– 1 ripe avocado, sliced
– 2 oranges, cut into segments
– 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
– Juice of 1 lime
– Olive oil
– Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions
Wash and dry the arugula and arrange it into salad plates. Cut the avocado in half and slice it all up. Fan out the sliced avocado artfully on top of the greens. Peel and slice up the oranges into segments and sprinkle over the salad. Top with feta cheese. Juice the lime over the salad, sprinkling evenly with the lime juice. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

I told you it was super easy! And it tastes amazing! It’s a win-win! The fresh flavours really come out and the lime juice keeps the avocado from turning brown. What kind of fruits do you like adding in your salads? Share your fruit pairings below in the comments!

Black Bean-Sweet Potato Burritos

who needs rice
when you can have sweet potatoes.

Recipe adapted from “Moosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 Most-Requested, Naturally Delicious Recipes from One of America’s Best-Loved Restaurants” by The Moosewood Collective

I’ve always wondered why burritos are typically always filled with rice and you don’t see more variations. So I was really happy to come upon this recipe for using sweet potatoes as the “glue” of the burrito. Burrito’s can be filled with just about anything, so feel free to through in some guacamole, sour cream, or your favourite cheese. You really can’t go wrong.

What do you like to fill your burritos with? Maybe some spicy Sriracha sauce or maybe some roughly chopped romaine lettuce for a bit of crunch? My favourite is some crumbled lime tostitos. Share your favourite filling ideas below.

Tale
The word burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish, as a diminutive form of burro, or “donkey”. The name burrito, as applied to the food item, possibly derives from the appearance of bedrolls and packs that donkeys carried. Now when I eat burrito’s, I will think of eating a little bedroll. Omnomnomnomnom

Ingredients
– 6 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
– 2 TBSs vegetable or olive oil
– 2 cups chopped onions
– 1 diced red bell pepper
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 fresh hot pepper, minced
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 TBS ground cumin seeds
– 1 TBS ground coriander seeds
– two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed (3 cups)
– 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
– 1 can of corn kernels
– six 10-inch flour tortillas

Tools
– Saucepan x2
– Large baking pan
– Aluminum Foil

Serves 6

Directions

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In a covered saucepan, bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in salted water to cover. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, mash them up and set aside.

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While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a covered saucepan on low heat. Add the onions, garlic, hot peppers, red bell pepper, and salt and cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute or two.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a large baking pan.

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I find with lemons that if you press and roll them around on the counter, it helps loosen them up and it’s easier to get them to juice.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, the onion-spice mixture, and the black beans. Stir in the lemon juice, cilantro, and corn. Season with salt to taste.

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Place about 1 cup of filling on the bottom half of reach tortilla and roll up. The sides can be left open, or the sides can be folded over as you roll to form a tidy package. Arrange, seam side down, in the prepared baking pan. Lightly brush the tops of the burritos with oil and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until hot.

Crispy & Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and Tomatoes

when was the last time you had
crispy chicken that wasn’t KFC?

Recipe adapted from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver

What a fantastic dish! I love frying up the chicken… they end up looking like little chicken wings. So crispy and tasty. Nomnomnom. Just watch out for the hot oil. Everything gets cooked up together in one dish at the end that brings all the flavours together in one savoury dish. Pair it with a green salad and you’re all set to go!

Serves 4

Ingredients
– 1 3/4 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
– 12 boned chicken thighs, skin on
– Olive oil
– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 1/4 rounds cherry tomatoes, different shapes and colours if you can find them
– 1 bunch fresh oregano, leaves picked
– Red wine vinegar

Tools
– Large saucepan
– Roasting pan, large casserole dish, or Dutch over

Directions
Put the potatoes into a large saucepan of salted boiling water and boil until cooked.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Cut each of the chicken thighs into 3 strips and place in a large bowl. Rub the meat all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss.

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Heat up a large frying pan, big enough to hold all the chicken pieces snugly in 1 layer, and put the chicken into the pan, skin side down. If you don’t have a pan that’s big enough, you can cook the chicken in 2 batches… or 3… or 4 like I had to. Toss and fry the chicken over a high heat for 10 minutes or so, until almost cooked. You want them nice and crispy looking. Then remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowel big enough to mix all the ingredients in.

Pierce the tomatoes with a sharp knife. Place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for a minute or two. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel off their skins. By now the potatoes will be cooked and you can drain them and then lightly crush them by pushing down on them with your thumb. Not too much, but enough to make them look slightly smashed.

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In a pestle and mortar, grind up most of the oregano leaves with a pinch of salt. Add 4 TBSs of extra-virgin olive oil, a good splash of red wine vinegar and some pepper and give the mortar another go. Add to the chicken with the potatoes, the tomatoes and the rest of the oregano leaves. Toss everything together carefully. Spread out in a single layer in an appropriately sized roasting pan, and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until golden. You can also use a casserole dish or a Dutch oven.

Peruvian Quinoa & Vegetable Salad

love me some corn and black beans in my salad.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM “MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT FAVORITES: THE 250 MOST-REQUESTED, NATURALLY DELICIOUS RECIPES FROM ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST-LOVED RESTAURANTS” BY THE MOOSEWOOD COLLECTIVE

Who doesn’t love a kitchen sink salad? Well besides all the prep work that goes into it? lol. Although there is a ton of veggies in this salad, feel free to add or reduce whatever you like. Quinoa is such a versatile grain that you can use pretty much anything you like. I do love the addition or corn and black beans though. Really adds some great colour to an otherwise beige salad. This makes quite a big helping of salad so have some containers on hand for leftovers.

For some other great healthy recipes, check out my classmates blog Urban Skylark.

Ingredients

Quinoa
– 1 cup quinoa
– 1 tsp oil
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Dressing
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 3 TBS lime or lemon juice
– 1/2 tsp salt

Vegetables
– 1 TBS vegetable oil
– 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
– 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
– 1 cup seeded and diced red red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
– 1 cup diced zucchini
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
– 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
– 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
– 1 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes
– one 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tools
– Sieve to rinse quiona
– Saucepan
– Large skillet

Directions
If your quinoa isn’t pre-rinsed, rinse and drain it well in a sieve – this removes any bitter residue from the grains. Warm the oil in a saucepan on high heat, add the drained quinoa, sprinkle with the salt, and stir for a minute. Add the boiling water and bring back to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, until the grains are tender, about 5 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing and prep the vegetables. When the quinoa is done, toss it with about half of the dressing and put it in the refrigerator to cool. It will cool more quickly if you spread it out. Reserve the rest of the dressing.

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To cook the vegetables: Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, and salt and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add the corn, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes, if using, and stir feel, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

Stir the cooked vegetables into the quinoa. Toss with the remaining dressing and the tomatoes, beans, and cilantro. Add more salt and lime juice to taste.

What are some of your must haves in your salad? Is it maybe the dressing or just that certain ingredient that adds the crunch or flavour you love. Share your salad finishing ideas in the comments below.

Broiled Vegetable Soup

a deep delicious twist on a classic.

Recipe adapted from “Plenty – Yotam Ottolenghi”.

I think I have fallen in love with Ottolenghi’s cook books. From the photos to the delicious sounding recipes, I can’t wait to try more of his creations. This broiled vegetable soup stood out to me as I’ve never had a “broiled” vegetable soup. To be quite honest, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. BROIL?! VEGETABLES?… ooookay. I’m always up for trying something new, so why not?! I rarely use the broil setting in my oven, let alone to actually char things on purpose. I must say though, this soup turned out to really surprise me. The depths of the flavour and just how it all came together made it a really delicious experience. Try it yourself and see what a difference broiled vegetables make.

Serves 4

Ingredients
– 3 medium eggplants
– 2 red peppers, stems and seeds removed
– 3 medium tomatoes
– 2 red onions, finely chopped
– 2 TBS olive oil
– 3/4 cup basil leaves, torn
– 2 tsp fresh oregano
– 10 garlic cloves, smashed
– 1 litre vegetable broth
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 4 cups cooked lima beans (I used Great Northern Beans from a can. Cooking beans is haaaaard.)
– plain Greek yogurt for serving

Tools
– 3 sheet pans
– Tongs
– Dutch oven
– Immersion or regular blender

Directions
Pierce the eggplants in several places with a knife tip. There are stories out there of people who don’t do this, and the eggplants explode in the oven… don’t be one of those people. Place the whole eggplants on a sheet pan and broil for 30 minutes. Turn the eggplants with tongs, and add the peppers on another pan into the oven; continue broiling for another 15 minutes. Flip the peppers over and add the tomatoes in another pan into the oven, and continue broiling for another 15 minutes.

Once that’s all done, remove the eggplants and peppers from the oven; leave the tomatoes in, with the broiler off, for 10 minutes. This will help removing the skins easier.

Cook the onions in the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. When the eggplants, peppers and tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, split open the eggplants and scoop out the flesh. Then peel apart the peppers, while removing the charred skin.

Add the eggplant flesh, peppers, tomatoes, half the basil, oregano, garlic, and stock to the Dutch oven and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you like a smooth soup, add the beans into the Dutch oven then puree with either an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. If you like more of a textured soup, puree the mixture as is, and then add in the beans after like I did.

Serve hot, topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and the remaining basil. How do you like to garnish your soups with? Sour cream? Cilantro? Serve up your garnish ideas below in the comments!

Kale Bolognese Sauce

a healthy boost to a great meat sauce.

Recipe from Theodor Weinberg

This sauce is a yummy and healthy alternative to a basic marinara sauce. It’s like a kicked up marinara filled with meat and veggies, especially kale. I love adding kale to this sauce to really boost the nutritional value and help offset your guilt.

For some other great fitness and nutrition ideas, check out my classmates blog: FitSwitch

What kind of ingredients do you like to add to your pasta sauce to help transform it into something different and nutritious? Share your healthy tricks below in the comments.

Serves 6

Ingredients
– 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
– 4 sweet Italian sausage
– 2 cups chopped kale
– 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
– 2 cloves garlic minced
– 1 tblsp Italian seasoning
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/3 cup pasta water
– pepper
– pinch salt
– 1 lb bag pappardelle pasta

Tools
– Large deep skillet
– Pasta pot

Directions
Open up sausage casings and scoop meat into a large deep skillet over medium high heat. While sausage is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package. Remove 1/3 cup pasta water and set aside, and then drain rest.

When sausage is browned add the garlic and mushrooms. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the diced tomatoes, chopped kale, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, and parmesan cheese. Cover and let simmer for 5 or so minutes. Add cooked pasta and pasta water to large skillet and toss to coat. Season with a little salt and pepper if needed.

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse Tarts

a tangy treat that are a delight to eat.

Recipe adapted from “In the Kitchen with Anna” by Anna Olson

This is such a fantastic summer time dessert. Rich, tangy, and small enough that they’re gone before you know it. Who needs a whole big tart when you can have 8 mini ones? Serve them up with some fresh lemonade and you’re all set to go for an afternoon by the pool.

Makes eight tarts

Ingredients – Pastry
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 tsp fine grated lemon zest
– 1/4 tsp fine salt
– 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
– 1 large egg
– 1 large egg yolk

Ingredients – Filling
– 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
– 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1 TBS finely grated lemon zest
– 1/2 cup lemon juice
– dash vanilla extract
– fresh blueberries, for garnish

Tools
– Food processor, or pastry blender (optional)
– Electric mixer
– Eight 4-inch (10cm) tar pans (with removable bottoms)
– Baking sheet

Directions – Pastry
For the crust, stir the flour, sugar, leon zest and salt to combine. Cut in the butter until the texture of coarse meal (this can be done in a food processor, with an electric mixer, or by hand by using a pastry blender or your fingers). Whisk the egg and egg yolk together, then add to the flour mixture, blending just until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 discs and chill for at least an hour.

Directions – Filling
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to just less than 1/4-inch thick. Spring eight 4-inch (10cm) tar pans (with removable bottoms) lightly with flour and line with pastry and trim off the edges. Chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven for 350˚F(180˚C). Place tart shells on a baking sheet. Dock bottom of the pastry with a fork, line shells with foil and weight down with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove weights and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the center of the tart shells appear dry and the edges are lightly browned. Let cool with preparing the mousse.

For the mousse, whip the cream to soft peaks and chill. In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth and beat in the sugar and lemon zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream in 2 additions. Dollop the mousse (or pipe with a piping bag) into cooled shells. Garnish with fresh blueberries and chill until ready to serve. Gently remove the outside rings and bottoms of the tart pans before plating.

You could always switch up the fruit topping to something like cherries, raspberries, pretty much any berry. What kind of fruits do you like to use? Share your fruit toppings below in the comments.