Tag Archives: Cilantro

Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Whole Bunch More!

It is a soup sorta day don’t you all think?

Although today wasn’t all that cold. But it still felt like the day to enjoy a Mexican inspired meal.

Today started off with a somewhat cool morning and ended with bright sunshine and warmth. The high of the day was about twenty-two degrees centigrade. Can you believe that tomorrow is said to be twenty-seven?! Yeah, both Friday and Saturday is pretty much bikini weather days! The following day however will end up being thirteen degrees.

Kind of sounds like April in the Netherlands.

Not been to the Netherlands in April? Well around the end of the month right around Koningsdag (King’s Day), we get like three days of really nice and hot weather. It goes up to thirty a lot of the time. Only thing is that the days before that it is like sixteen degrees and the days afterwards it is like nineteen degrees. Both pre and post Koningsdag are rainy days while during it is perfectly wonderful.

That honestly is like it is to be this week. It is even rumoured that we are going to have snow this coming Tuesday!

Speaking of snow and cold, a woman told me something very very interesting today!

The more berries on a tree, the more severe the winter will be!

What tree you may ask? Not a mulberry tree, but a Mountain Ash tree!

Mountain Ash Tree

Apparently the Mountain Ash trees are very much covered right now. So all this talk that it will be an Il Niño type of winter doesn’t seem t actually apply. Or does it? Can one actually tell the forecast for the upcoming winter?

To be or not to be a warm winter, that is the question.

Well back to my soup! Sorry for blabbing on about everything else but the food!

So I made a very simple and quick Chicken Tortilla soup. I’m someone who has made a good few of these soups and thought I would try for this one. I definitely saw why it was a twenty minute soup! I also saw that I am lacking some serious herbs and spices in my kitchen. I mean I have a whole bunch of them but I am missing two of the most critical types of spices!

  • Chilli powder
  • Red pepper flakes

How do I not have these for a soup such as this one is beyond me!

I got the recipe from Nutritionist in the Kitch, the direct link for the recipe can be found here. I added a few more ingredients that I feel really needs to be in every tortilla soup. I also removed a few ingredients.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 breast of chicken (283g), cooked and shredded
  • 1 medium yellow onion (150g), chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper (175g), chopped
  • 1 small jalepeño, sliced and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 can (398ml) stewed diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups (940ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (398ml) red kidney beans
  • 1 can (199ml) corn
  • 1/3 cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime, quartered and squirted in each bowl (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tortilla, sliced

Instructions:

  • In a large deep pot, sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, and jalepeño in olive oil until soft and fragrant.

  • Add stewed tomatoes to vegetables and mix. Add cumin and paprika powder. Mix well before adding chicken broth to the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for five minutes.

  • Now add shredded chicken, kidney beans, and corn and reduce heat and allow to boil onwards for five minutes.

  • While soup is simmering, in a small frying pan heat oil up and fry tortillas until chip-like in consistency.

  • Stir through cilantro and ladle into individual bowls.

  • Top with three strips of the tortilla chips, top with several cilantro leaves, and top that with three slices of avocado. Now squirt some lime juice into soup if doing that.

  • Enjoy!

I love love love this sort of soup. But I love anything with shredded chicken such as a normal chicken soup, an arepa, an epanada, avocado chicken salad, etc. Love it all.

Anyway, I ended up enjoying the soup with a very cool and almost luminescent looking juice! One of the best things about being in North America are having those frozen Minute Maid juices! Like this one!

Almost Glowing juice
Almost Glowing juice

And to go with this Limeade I am also enjoying this Limoncello scented hand cream. I now live in a very dry part of the world (however Johannesburg was also very dry), and I am in constant need of creaming my hands. I recently went to Bath & Body Works and bought about three hand creams for just $12. So beside every sink in my apartment (and luckily there’s only three) I have one of these cream bottles to soften your hands up! This is the one I have in my personal washroom.

Limoncello Hand cream
Limoncello Hand cream

By the way, this Limoncello hand cream smells A MILLION times better than the actual Limoncello liquour. A couple years ago I tried to make a Limoncello cocktail for my little sister and I and well…. it tasted much worse than medicine generally tastes! Blegh!

And before I am done, have you all heard of the amazing story that archaeologists found the another humanoid creature that may change history as we know it? They found it just outside of Johannesburg in a cave! This creature being part Neanderthal and part cro-magnon! While watching the news they said that these humanoids had long hands like ours, however instead of being straight in length like ours, they were longer and curved to be able to climb! How cool is that!

I am just amazed by all that is discovered in this fantastic world we live in.

Anyway I am so sorry for just going on and on like crazy today.

Guess I had just so much to say! Hope you all have a fabulous rest of the day and enjoy your meal!

Happy eating… and learning!

Delicious One Pot Rice and Beans with Chicken and Cilantro

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve had a pretty quiet week this week. From Monday through to Thursday I was completely free. So got up to some things. Took the public transport like a pro yesterday though. Went from one side of the city allllll the way to the other side. Now I know that may not seem all that impressive, but my new city is a HUGE city.

Edmonton_street_map

I feel like I have accomplished a lot after going from the one side of my city to the other. But I became much prouder today after having hung up a few things in my kitchen! Anyway we aren’t here to listen to my happy moments, we are here for food!

My handiwork

So for this evening’s meal I made a basic rice and beans dish, except it wasn’t just your normal rice and black beans dish, but a fabulous dish.

I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a good while and finally got around to it. This recipe comes from the website Cooking Classy while the direct link for this recipe can be found here. Are you still curious to what I’ve cooked up? Well it is a One Pan Cilantro, Lime, and Chicken Rice and Bean dish. How good does Cilantro, Lime, and Chicken sound in a black bean and rice dish? Heavenly!

Black Bean and Rice with Chicken, Cilantro, and Lime

The recipe I followed was for four portions but I pretty much halved it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 breast (283g) of chicken, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 green onions (10g), sliced (set aside half the chives for later)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (237ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 chili pepper, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 can (250ml) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (185g) white rice
  • ¼ cup (15g) chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet for medium-high heat and fry chicken seasoned with salt and pepper for approx. 6 minutes, add the white bits of the green onions and garlic to the chicken and cook for a minute.

  2. Sit in broth, green bits of green onion, green chili, lime zest, lime juice, black beans, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to boil. Add rice and allow to boil fully emerged in broth for a minute. Remove dish from heat while lid is on skillet and allow dish to rest for 5/6 minutes.

  3. If rice is not cooked fully, return pan to medium heat and cook and toss for 1 minute to allow rice to absorb excess moisture. Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.

  4. Top rice and beans with cilantro and green onion. Squirt some lime juice in the bowl before serving.

  5. Enjoy

I am so glad that I made this meal. It was so delicious! Lime, cilantro, and green onion is the perfect combo. Absolutely perfect.

Also, have any of you heard of Ma’amoul? It is the most delicious cookie I have ever come to know. My boss likes to purchase them for us to all enjoy at work. However today while I was grocery shopping I thought to buy some for my apartment too. I probably should have been strong but I really couldn’t help myself! Ma’amoul is a shortbread pastry generally filled with dates. This cookie is a traditional Lebanese cookie and is soooo good. I’m not really a date person but these are delightful!

Date Ma'amoul

I hope that you get to enjoy both the rice and bean dish and the date ma’amouls! The website Cooking Classy is a great website for fantastic recipes and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy eating!

Homemade Mac n Cheese with a Spicy Red Twist

Everyone, lets raise a glass to my successful meal today!

Raise your Glass
Raise your Glass

Officially I’ve been living on my own for two days and a bit. This past Thursday my mom flew back home. Though I really shouldn’t be saying home as Canada should qualify as home to me now. Anyway I’ve now cooked up three suppers and 2/3 were absolutely god awful. Okay, maybe not that bad but bad enough that I couldn’t even post a photo let alone blog about them!

Anyway today was a very successful day! Also a last minute meal decision if I might add. Thank you FoodGawker!

Before I continue, how has everyone been? I feel like it has been such a very long time since writing on here. I mean I know I wrote once while at my sister’s house but other than that? Nada! I almost couldn’t get back into it but then I remembered just how much I like writing. And then there is my pathetic new age love for taking photos of food. My brother-in-law has commented on this a few times even.

So back to food.

What are two things that all North American’s seem to like? From my understanding the first love of all North American’s is definitely Mac & Cheese while the second food love for all is definitely Sriracha. So what can one do with these two food items? Well combine them of course!

Macaroni & Cheese and Sriracha
The American Staple

I got the recipe from Life as a Strawberry and although I didn’t completely follow the recipe, my outcome was still incredibly fabulous. Not only in looks but also in taste! The original recipe for my meal can be found here if you feel the need to cook it!

Mac & Cheese Spaghetti with Sriracha

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (113g) spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (salted)
  • 2 Tablespoons white flour
  • 1 cup (236ml) almond milk
  • 1 cup (115g) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha, plus 1 teaspoon as garnish
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • Pinch of parsley

Instructions:

  1. Cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  2. In same pot, spoon butter and allow to melt. Spoon in flour and mix continuously to form a roux. Slowly add milk to roux and whisk constantly until smooth.

  3. Allow sauce to thicken. Remove from heat one at desired thickness and add cheese. Stir cheese until completely melted. Add salt and pepper and ½ teaspoon of Sriracha sauce and mix well.

  4. Add cooked spaghetti to cheese sauce and mix until all spaghetti is coated.

  5. Spoon spaghetti into serving bowls and sprinkle with Sriracha, dried cilantro, and a couple of leaves of parsley for a touch of green.

  6. Enjoy!

Although parsley wasn’t the herb of choice, it tasted quite good with the spaghetti!

Also, why on earth doesn’t Monterey Jack cheese exist in other continents besides North America? I always read about this cheese when reading North American blogs or food related things and have always wondered what it tasted like. I thought it would be spicy. Boy was I wrong, it’s just sharp.

Cheesy Goodness

Delicious though! This cheese really does need to become an international thing!

It would make for a fabulous cheese on an International Cheese platter at some restaurants! Mmm mmmm!

Basically this was an excellent meal and I cannot wait for more deliciously executed meals.

Happy eating y’all!

My Mexican First – Vegetarian Mushroom and Black Bean Burritos!

“If you are not from Mexico, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about Mexican food?”

Well according to this blog I just read, its burritos. But really? Burritos is what you think about?

I think about beans. Though that may be due to the fact that I know what Mexicans-Americans are called when you want to be rude and disrespectful. In Spanish that word we used to be offensive is “frijolero”, this translates to beaner. It is the Spanish version of the horrible word Chink for a Chinese-American person or Gringo for an American or white person.

Anyway, if I am being fully honest, when I think about burritos I think about Americans. Although I know burritos originally come from Mexico, I think about Americans and how all my American friends love Taco Bell and burritos and all that other good stuff.

I actually don’t think I have ever had a burrito. I can recall most of what has gone in my mouth, but a burrito may not have ever been something I’ve ingested.

So yesterday was the first time I ever got to eat a burrito! Boy are they filling! But now I see why Americans like them so much. The recipe I followed was meant to make the burrito a Sriracha rice infused wrap, but A) I can barely handle spice and B) what exactly is Sriracha? Besides this thing all the Americans are raving about!

I got the recipe from Amuse Your Bouche though the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Vegetarian Burrito with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Vegetarian Burrito with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups (210g) basmati rice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (425g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • ¾ cup (86g) cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup (25g) cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 190ᵒC (375ᵒF)

  2. Boil rice as directed on package, approx. 15-20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile in a medium wok heat up olive oil and pour in diced tomatoes and begin to cool. Mix in paprika powder, cumin, Tobasco sauce (you can add more if desired), and salt and pepper.

  4. Once rice is cooked, mix tomato and Tobasco sauce mixture into rice and set aside.

  5. In another frying pan (or reuse wok) sauté garlic and sliced mushrooms until fragrant and soft.

  6. To assemble the burritos, place large tortilla on a sheet of tin foil just a bit larger than wrap. Spoon three heaping tablespoons of rice in centre of the tortilla, spoon a couple tablespoons of black beans on rice, one tablespoon of mushrooms on beans, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and top with chopped cilantro.

  7. Fold tortilla wrap into a large roll and fold tin foil around tortilla roll tightly. Place in preheated oven and cool for twenty minutes.

  8. Serve and enjoy!

Assembly of Vegetarian Burrito
Assembly of Vegetarian Burrito
Rolling of Burrito
Rolling of Burrito

You can also freeze the burritos if you do not want to cook them yet! But I’d cook them – as they are delicious! Though I’m sure they’d be better with Sriracha infused rice, but as a non-American I do not know what that truly tastes like. Though someone recently told me (and I’m quoting him) that it is so hot it makes you shit yourself. He however used less words and more emojis.

Well the recipe that you read above here is on the bland side if you like a kick in your meals, so in case you may feel it is kind of boring so I did make a dipping sauce (which is also a salad dressing)! My dad likes to add some pimiento to his meals, whether it be Sambal bajak or like last night, this dipping sauce. I got the recipe for the salad dressing/dipping sauce from here. Notice that this person has the same background/layout! I’ve not seen it on another persons blog before until now!

If you are wondering how large each of the burritos look like, here is a picture of each of the burritos when laying on our baking sheet before I baked them!

5 Burritos on Baking Sheet
5 Burritos on Baking Sheet

If this is what all burritos taste like, I am hooked. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I have.

Happy eating!

Mexican Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

I love tacos! (dun dun dun dun dun) I love tacos!

In case you are wondering, I was creating the beat in between the lyrics of “I want candy”. But I don’t want candy, instead I love tacos.

Love love love tacos.

The best part about these tacos are that they are super healthy!

For a long time I’ve been interested in the idea of a lettuce wrap but never got around to doing it until today. I am so glad I finally got into it! This was a fantastic meal!

Mexican chicken Lettuce wrap

I got the recipe from the blog Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy hour which I found on Pinterest after looking up Lettuce Wrap recipes. The direct link to the recipe can be found here. The recipe is quite a small one which I decided to increase in size, but as you already know – I LOVED it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 breasts chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup (86g) can black beans
  • ½ cup (90g) can sweet corn
  • 1/3 cup (76g) green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (8.5g) tortilla chips, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 avocados, sliced (optional)
  • 1 head of lettuce (of your choice)

Instructions:

  1. Combine the chicken, beans, corn, onion, cilantro and chips in a large bowl and mix.

  2. Spoon in vinegar and mayonnaise and mix well.

  3. Wash head of lettuce and pat each of the leaves dry before spooning the chicken salad into the leaves.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

I honestly feel that this may be one of the best tacos I’ve had in a very long time. It reminds me of a deconstructed taco actually as there are tortillas in the salad, and usually a proper taco is held together with a hard shell tortilla.

Mexican Chicken SaladMexican Chicken Lettuce Wrap

Although the idea of a lettuce wrap doesn’t seem all that filling, I can tell you that my mom was incredibly full after her meal! Though I did give her a plateful of five wraps. She also tried the chicken salad with bread and decided that the lettuce wrap was ten times better with the salad than a slice of bread.

About the tortilla chips, I find buying tortilla chips in South Africa to be super difficult. Most the time when we go down the chip aisle we see a variety of assorted flavoured chips but rarely ever do we see basic chips like the ones we bought today. Thankfully we did find what we found today. But most the time it is SO hard to find that here.

Tortilla chips

I honestly adored this and hope you all enjoy it as much as mom and I did!

Happy eating!

Green Avocado Rice

Happiness is a fresh seasonal avocado.

It really is.

I love avocado. This may be why I love living in South Africa. Avocados are everywhere and with every dish. YUM!

So for this evenings meal I had to utilize avocados!

Although the recipe is a vegetarian one, I topped it with chicken. But because the actual recipe is strictly vegetarian this is a very vegetarian post!

IMG_1918

I got the recipe for this lovely and easy meal from Cooking Classy though the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (600g) wild rice
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup (15g) chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook wild rice as instructed on packaging.

  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl mash both avocados with a fork until smooth. Add lime juice, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and S&P until mixed well.

  3. Once rice has been cooked, combine rice with avocado mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.

I sliced two chicken breasts over the avo rice mixture and placed a few leaves of cilantro on the chicken.

Avocado Cilantro Lime Rice and Chicken

Honestly the avo rice tastes JUST like guacamole. How amazing is that!? Plus wild rice is delicious on its own so this was heavenly. Just heavenly.

funny-pics-crocodile-love-guacamole

Here’s an interesting fact for you about wild rice. I’m just learnt this and find it rather interesting at least. Did you know that one cup of raw wild rice is equal to four cups of cooked wild rice. One simple cup to four cups, wow.

Anyway, I recently bought two amazing books. I honestly can’t stop reading the one book which consists of many amazing stories. Normally I’m not interested in books that contain several stories rather than just one consistent story, but this book is FANTASTIC! This book is called 101 Kruger Tales – it’s a novel of several extraordinary stories that people experienced while being in the Kruger National Park. The other book I bought was The Elephant Whisperer which is about a man who helped elephants which were damaged by horrible people and such. The best part is that since the man died (about five years ago), every year on his birthday the herd of elephants come to his widows house and pay their respects. How lovely is that!?

IMG_1858If you are planning on coming to South Africa or just love exciting stories you really should get 101 Kruger Tales!

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

Happy eating!

Flu-Fighting and Air Way Opening Soup

The cold and flu season comes at the two worst times of the year: during the winter time and before a long flight overseas. Thing is the flight could be at any time of year and even more than once, it depends on how much you fly.

As it is not winter time in South Africa, I definitely have a long haul flight that I have to take. And you know what? I developed some sniffles earlier in the week. So I thought a soup would be the best way to cure my illness. Plus we all know that Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup has always been the way to cure any cold or flu.

Although a chicken soup is a great way to diminish any trace of a bug in your body, there are other great tools to ensuring you come out perfectly healthy! Epicurious has a list of six ingredients that should be in your flue fighting diet, the link for that is here.

So although I love a good chicken soup to fight any illness, I don’t ever go for the boring old chicken soup you get in a package, I like to spice it up. Literally. Mexican infused soup with a good kick makes it all that much better. I mean you get the chicken to fight the power, and chili to open your airways. Pretty perfect if you ask me!

Chicken and Rice Soup

I got the recipe from Food.com though the direct link to the recipe can be found here. Lately I’ve been thinking about chicken rice soup. Not chicken noodle, but rice. And I remember mom used to make chicken rice soup when my sister and I were kids. I remember hating it though. The faces I would make in our small kitchen in Ciudad Ojeda was pretty ridiculous. Especially with how I just made a chicken and rice soup right now. No idea why I wasn’t fond of the soup before because I quite like it today!

Chicken and Rice soup
Mom’s Plate, with Avo on the Side

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups (1,410ml) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (97.5g) white basmati
  • 1 cup (235ml) water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (200g) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup (75g) onion, chopped thinly
  • ½ jalepeño, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup (125g) chicken breast, shredded
  • ¼ cup (59ml) lime juice
  • ½ cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil, once boiling add rice and turn heat to low and allow rice to simmer with lid on pot for 15 minutes.

  2. In a separate pot (a large one), bring chicken stock to boil. Once boiling turn heat down and allow to simmer.

  3. Finally in a small pan, fry chicken with salt and pepper seasoning until brown. Remove from pan once cooked and set aside. In same pan add olive oil and sauté onion and jalepeño for a minute until fragrant. Then remove from heat.

  4. Chicken should be able to be handled now, so shred chicken and set aside.

  5. Begin to fill bowl in these steps: 

    Solids in Soup before Broth
    Solids in Soup before Broth
    1. Rice
    2. Onion/jalepeño mixture
    3. Tomato
    4. Cilantro
    5. Chicken
    6. Chicken stock
    7. Lime juice (only a teaspoon or more if desired)
    8. Avocado
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken and Rice soup with Avo

Chicken and Rice SoupThis was absolutely fantastic! Although I did completely forget about the lime juice, but with cilantro and jalepeño, who needs lime?

I loved this. Truly did. It was the right amount of kick to open up our airways and fight the illness that made its way into my body.

The thing about flying with a cold or flu is that you could be quarantined as a threat for having Ebola. And that isn’t even a lie. If I am flying from South Africa to Europe (which I will be) there is a big threat that anyone with a fever could have Ebola. That is something NO one wants. Especially when going from one continent to the next.

So a flu-fighting soup was the ultimate way to go.

I think this was a success. Though we will only see for sure tomorrow evening when I hop onto the 11 hour airplane to the Netherlands. My poor body will be in pain after sitting for hours on end!

AND we will go from 32C days to 6C days. Sooo cold. Luckily I’ll have my blanket sweater with me and my two pairs of boots. I’ll definitely be needing lots of tea and coffee from Starbucks to survive the cold.

Anyway, this is my meal for the evening and it was incredible! Chicken with pimiento in a soup is my favourite type of soup. If you end up making this I hope you enjoy it as much as my mother and I did.

Happy eating!

One-Meal Bowl with Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken

What is your favourite herb? And do you pronounce the H in the word herb or pronounce it as “erb”? I guess because I was raised by my Canadian mother and speaking her English I tend to pronounce the H in herb. But although I speak Canadian English, there are a lot of American things I tend to do in English. Like I spell color without the U yet I spell a lot of other things with an RE at the end. Or I add the U to certain words like “neighbourhood”.

Anyway, what was I asking? Oh yeah, what is your favourite herb?

Mine is definitely cilantro (or coriander). The fresh stuff. Yum yum yum. Though I can tell you that it is difficult to grow. I’ve failed in Holland and in South Africa. Have any of you successfully grown cilantro?

So cilantro did feature in this evenings meal.

I made a fantastic quinoa and chicken bowls. Bowls being a meal combined in a bowl.

One Bowl Meal

I got the recipe from Eat. Drink. Love. – what a lovely name for a blog! The direct link for the recipe can be found here. I didn’t really make the bowl like the photos on Eat. Drink. Love., but it all tasted grand!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (170g) quinoa
  • 2 cups (470ml) chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (40g) cilantro, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) green peas
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper then add chicken breasts to honey lime mixture and allow to marinade for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile bring a pot of chicken broth to boil. Once boiling, add quinoa to bubbling chicken broth and cover pot. Remember to turn down heat to low to allow quinoa to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and do NOT remove lid until quinoa has fully absorbed broth. Then turn heat off.

  3. Mix in ¼ cup of cilantro and 1 ½ tablespoons into the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to quinoa for additional flavour.

  4. In a small frying pan on medium heat, add can of black beans WITH liquid. Mix in spices and mix well. Fill ¼ cup water to can of beans and then place in bean mixture. Turn heat down to low and allow black beans to simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Then take chicken breasts from marinade and place in a frying pan at medium heat and begin to fry. Watch out that honey from marinade can cause chicken to burn easily.

  6. Once chicken is cooked set aside. Once cooled begin to shred chicken for bowls.

  7. When everything is ready begin setting up your bowls. Fill bowls in following order:

    1. Quinoa
    2. Chopped tomato
    3. Green peas
    4. Chopped cilantro
    5. Black beans
    6. Shredded chicken
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Now you do not need to fill your bowls as I have, but my mom isn’t all too keen on black beans so I wanted to remove the bean flavour from mixing in with the quinoa for her. Just to ensure it isn’t all too black bean-y. And if you want you could also add some dairy to your dish (cheese or sour cream), but I kept it simple.

Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas
Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas

Although it was simple without cheese or sour cream it came out great! I have to say cilantro is definitely the key ingredient in this masterpiece. It just adds so much flavour to the meal!

Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken bowl

God, I love cilantro!

Well this meal turned out fantastically. Mom and I even went for seconds after setting up a plate for our housekeeper for lunch tomorrow. It was wonderful! The beans made the dish more Mexican, but the honey and lime made think of a more Asian meal. Which I find weird, but whatever.

If you end up making this I hope you love it as much as we did!

Happy eating!

Empanadas for Days!

Last week I spent my time in the Netherlands and as my Pilates classmates say “got soft”, they’re right. I didn’t eat all that healthy and didn’t feel guilty about it either. My week was spent gobbling stroopwafels! How awful right?! For those of you who do not know Dutch, a stroopwafel directly translates to a syrup waffle, this being two wafers filled with a syrup in between. When you are Dutch or have lived in the country for several years, you will know how heavenly these things are. Especially when you have been without them for three months or longer (as I have).

But because I have been in the Netherlands all of last week I didn’t have a kitchen to cook in so I mostly ate out or got salads from our local grocery store.

So I thought I’d write about a breakfast I had made for my Pilates class one Tuesday just two and a half weeks ago. I’ve been attending Pilates for about two and a half months now and love every minute of it. I’m getting fit while enjoying the company (all of which are women). I’ve also started to see a change in my body (before I went to NL that is), I could even get into a pair of shorts that were a struggle just this June! But the other week they fit perfectly on my problem area (my thighs). It felt great!

Anyway, I spoke to my class about the fact that I had made chicken empanadas the other day and they were really interested in them so I thought “why not make some vegetarian ones for these guys!” as half the class is a vegetarian.

So Tuesday I came to class with a tub of empanadas and little ketchup packets I had collected from some fast food joint!

Empanadas

I can honestly tell you that everyone loved them! My Pilates teacher even sat down with me and gobbled three or four! That’s how much they loved them! Good thing as I never had made these before! Would have been sad if my empanadas didn’t turn out to be a hit.

I got the recipe from here, though I didn’t follow this recipe for the pastry.

Ingredients:

For Pastry:

  • 2 ¼ cup (350g) plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch baking powder
  • ¾ cup (145g) margarine, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup (100ml) lukewarm water

For Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 cup (200g) sweet potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1 cup (172g) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients for the pastry and mix well, slowly add margarine and mix until combined. Begin to mix in egg and combine until slightly wet. If pastry is not wet enough for your liking, pour little amounts of water at a time to moisten up and continue to knead dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in refrigerator to set (for 30 minutes). Meanwhile place sweet potatoes in pot of water and turn heat to high to allow water to begin to boil. Watch pot to ensure water doesn’t boil over. 

  2. Once thirty minutes have been and gone, check potatoes to see if they are soft, if so drain water and mash in same pot that you made them in with a potato masher. 

  3. Combine sweet potato with cumin and cayenne powder until flavoursome. Then add black beans, green onions, cilantro, chili powder, and salt. Mix well. 

  4. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)

  5. Remove dough from fridge and take off clingfilm and roll out small balls of dough and then flatten them out with a rolling pin or use your hands (as I do). For each flattened roll of pastry, fill with a teaspoon and a half of filling. Fold closed and fold one edge over the other. Then crimp closed with a fork for a nice design. 

  6. Place on prepared cookie sheet (covered with wax paper) and continue making empanadas, rolling out, filling, folding, crimping, etc. 

  7. Once cookie sheet is filled with empanadas, lightly brush with egg wash and pop into oven to cook. 

  8. Bake at 200°C for 16 minutes or until lightly browned. 

  9. Remove and allow to cool and continue process until all filling and pastry is used. 

  10. Enjoy!

Empanadas for Class

It is a shame, I do not have a photo of what the inside of the empanada looked like, but it did taste quite good.

I’ve made empanadas a few times now and I can say that every time I make them I have much more pastry than I do filling, but this time around it all fit perfectly! I was very impressed.

Anyway, if you are a fan of latin cuisine but find yourself more along the lines of a vegetarian, then this may be the perfect recipe for you! It is delicious, full of vitamins and iron, and just overall good for you! Plus I think they make a fabulous breakfast for when you are on the go.

I hope you all enjoy the recipe and have a wonderful weekend!

Buen provecho!

Green Spinach and Chickpea Salad

Today is quite a sad day for the Dutch. At 6 o’clock in the evening (noon eastern time) the first airplane containing the first forty people from the downing of MH17 arrived in the Netherlands. Thousands of people laid flowers for the fallen and lined the roads while the hearses drove to Hilversum. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news as I have you can view it here.

With all the stress of the initial homecoming of the unknown people, I made dinner later than usual. But with the heat, I tried to make it with as little heat as possible. I seriously hate summer without an airco.

I made this healthy protein-packed salad. Perfect for the protein that I need in my body and super delicious. Plus it is green and I love the color green when it comes to food.

Cilantro and Spinach Chickpea Salad

I got the recipe from here. Perfect perfect salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (1- 130g can and 310g can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (450g) spinach
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, add the spinach and pulse a few times until chopped very small. Add the processed spinach, drained chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl.

2. In the food processor (no need to rinse the bowl!), add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, sugar, garlic, cumin, and oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to blend the flavours. Serve with rice and enjoy!

This salad is absolutely amazing. I am happy knowing that I have so much leftover! Yum yum!

Mom, since I know you’re reading this you should suggest Taryn make it tonight or tomorrow at Iftar (the meal which you eat dinner after a day of fasting).

Anyway if any of y’all make this fabulous salad, I hope you enjoy it!

Also, if you are also celebrating Ramadan then you should add this to your evening meal. I think it will work wonderfully with the rest of your meal.

Enjoy your meal!