Tag Archives: Garlic

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!

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Romano White Bean Vegetable Soup with Quinoa

Can you believe summer is just about over? Today is the last day of August and then it’s September! The month when school starts up again! Feels like the summer went by so quickly!

But that’s alright as I am not going to be going back to school anytime soon. I’ll just work work work my way to better money and a better position in the company!

As its Monday I decided to make it a meatless and delicious one! This recipe is absolutely fabulous! Actually, I think that is my word, you know the one word you use all the time? Well I am pretty sure “fabulous” is my word of choice. My youngest niece constantly says “seriously”, but the way she pronounces it is like the new Oxford Dictionary word “srsly” like all the vowels are knocked out and the acronyms flow together. My oldest niece however uses the word “literally” all the time.

So now you know the word I seem to utilize often!

Anyway I made the best meal ever. It was oddly easy and so delicious. Also super healthy and filling. Honestly just perfect.

I got the recipe from the cooking tab in the New York Times website. Here you can find the direct link to the recipe!

White Bean Vegetable Quinoa soup

My meal was your basic tomato base soup as most my soups are, but honestly just delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion (40g), chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks (75g), sliced
  • 1 carrot(25g), peeled and sliced
  • 1 can (540ml) romano beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (411g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (750ml) vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup (43g) quinoa
  • ¼ cup (5g) parsley, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pot and sauté onion, celery, and carrot for about five minutes or until semi cooked. Add romano beans and garlic to vegetables and sauté for an additional two minutes.

  2. Mix in diced tomatoes and vegetable stock and allow mixture to simmer for about twenty minutes.

  3. Then add quinoa, parsley, herbs, and allow quinoa to cook for fifteen minutes with lid on pot.

  4. Once quinoa is cooked, remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper as desired.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a wonderful soup. If you like beans and quinoa this is honestly the soup for you!

Though I have something to ask you all… have any of you used shredded bay leaves for any of your dishes? I’ve not ever heard of shredded bay leaves and don’t even know how to add that to a soup or anything. Since I was taught to remove the bay leaves how does one remove shredded bay leaves?

Shredded Bay Leaves

For my soup I just added the leaves to a tea leaf strainer and let the leaves boil along with the metal in the pot. How odd is that right? Does anyone else do that?

Well regardless of how I used the bay leaves, this soup came out very well! I actually keep going back for a spoonful! So tasty!

I hope you all get to trying this. It is fabulous! Plus you will have it finished within a half hour!

So please everyone make this dish! You will love it

Happy eating

Spaghetti with Fa(LOVE)el

Falafel is a wonderful word. At least when pronounced as a North American. If you say it a certain way it sounds like the word “love” is in it. And I certainly love falafel.

I decided to make pasta with falafel. Yummy!

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and falafel

There isn’t much for something special going on in this dish but I have really missed making food for myself so I had to make a simple little pasta. Plus I need to get to know the electric stove top. Going from a gas stove to an electric one with the snap of ones fingers is a hard adjustment!

It took far too long to get my water boiling actually! And how does one thoroughly clean their electric stovetop? I looked it up but I don’t know what a stove cleaner is! I guess I should thoroughly look at the cleaning aisle at the grocery store…

So this was honestly just your basic pasta and tomato sauce. Though I much prefer homemade sauce than the store bought stuff so here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (114 g) spaghetti
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (398ml) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 falafel balls, halved
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot cook spaghetti as directed on box. Once spaghetti is near al dente, prepare sauce.

  2. In a small frying pan, heat olive oil to sauté garlic and onion until fragrant.

  3. Add can crushed tomatoes to the garlic and mix well. Add herbs and salt to tomato mixture.

  4. Once bubbling, allow to simmer for two minutes or until at desired consistency.

  5. Add halved falafel and cook until warm. Beware that falafel soften to a mush-like consistency if over cooked in sauce.

  6. Plate up and top with pepper.

  7. Enjoy

Like I said, my sauce is very basic. But it is fabulous. I quite enjoyed it. It has been a good while since I’ve had falafel. Now I just need to successfully make it from scratch. I tried once and thought it looked too dry and added water. Big big mistake. Never again.

So yeah, that was my dinner for the evening.

IMG_0438

Sorry it wasn’t all that impressive.

But I can tell you that I like to snap my spaghetti in half when I make a pasta. Less splatter when turning the noodles on the fork and smaller bites! It is perfect!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the generic recipe and if you make it enjoy the meal!

Happy Meatless Monday all!

Homemade Mushroom Stroganoff Heaven

Well hello all! It has been so long since I’ve cooked my own meal, but it’s been even longer since being on here! I honestly miss being in the kitchen! Luckily I got to be in it today!

So, last time I posted something on here I was still in South Africa. That isn’t the case anymore! I’ve since been in the Netherlands for two weeks at the end of May and for the last three or so weeks been in Canada!

If you haven’t noticed yet, well, I travel a lot. It isn’t always traveling even, it is more that I move a lot. Though before it was just part of my dad’s career, now it is for me to search for the place to settle down. Well sort of. I still lust to one day find a man who travels for work and move with him. You know, like mom did with daddy. Lucky lady!

Well now I’m here in Canada, looking for work and a place of my own. Though for the last while I’ve been living with my older sister and her family. Which reminds me:

Happy first day of Ramadan!

For those of you who don’t know what Ramadan is, here is a link containing the information on it. Basically it is a time when you fast for 30 days from sunrise to sunset. Although I do not fast, I respect those who do fast and know how hard it is.

Anyway, today’s dish is pretty great. When I was a kid my mom would make beef stroganoff often. I remember disliking it at first and then as the years went on I started to like it more. Just before I gave up eating beef I did really enjoy it, but now four and a half years later I craved some stroganoff and thought I would make some!

Mushroom Stroganoff

As I am living with my sister and her family we cook large meals to feed all seven of us and as my sisters family doesn’t eat pork and I don’t eat red meat our meals are limited to poultry and fish. Now I am not sure about you, but in my opinion eating chicken all the time can get a bit boring so I brought up the idea of making a beef stew for the kids and everyone else while I would make a vegetarian dish for myself. The idea was great, however everyone else left the house so stew wasn’t made, but I did get to do my stroganoff! Yay.

Gosh how I missed being in the kitchen.

I got the recipe from Amuse Your Bouche, the direct link to the recipe can be found here. This website/blog that I got my recipe from is an amazing place to get recipes. Great options and it makes me so happy to find fantastic food from them.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup (139g) white basmati rice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup (160g) red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups (150g) mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 6 parsley leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Cook rice as directed on package. Once cooked, drain and set aside and begin with the stroganoff.

  2. Heat a medium saucepan with olive oil and sauté garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft and garlic and onions are fragrant. Add vegetable stock to mushrooms and garlic, add smoked paprika powder to the pan and mix. Season with black pepper (and salt if needed).

  3. Remove stroganoff from heat and add yoghurt and parsley. Mix well.

  4. To serve, spoon some rice into serving dish and pour some sauce into the rice, top some mushrooms on the rice and use a few parsley leaves as a garnish.

This was a great great great dish! Even my mom who is a little ill with a common cold liked it!

Mushroom Stroganoff
Mushroom Stroganoff

If any of you like mushrooms as much as I do, you must try this! It was superb! I even went for seconds! DELICIOUS!

I honestly cannot wait to make this again once I’m on my own. Actually I can’t wait to return to Amuse Your Bouche to find other spectacular meals.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Happy eating!

Spana-what? Greek Spanakopita for Dinner!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Hope you all have had a lovely weekend! Was yours also a long weekend with Mayday – international labour day?
Well all weekend long I’ve been thinking about making Spanakopita, but I got lazy. Thankfully my mom knows when I’m getting lazy and asked whether I am up to making dinner. If I don’t give a proper response or make a certain face, she then pipes in that we should have takeout. For this I am glad that she knows me so well.

Thankfully I was able to make the Spanakopita today! Have you ever heard of Spanakopita? If not let me explain it to you. It is a Greek pastry made with spinach and feta, wrapped in phyllo pastry and then baked. You can find it at any Greek restaurant worldwide. If not, you should really wonder what sort of restaurant you are at!

Spanakopita

So I got the recipe from the wonderful website Budget Bytes, a great food website for uni students who want to eat proper food besides KD Mac n Cheese or ramen and want to keep it rather cheap. The direct link to the Spanakoptia recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• ½ yellow onion, chopped finely
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup (225g) cottage cheese
• ¼ cup (25g) parmesan cheese
• 1/8 teaspoon allspice
• Pinch of salt and black pepper
• 2 large eggs
• 16 oz (453g) frozen spinach, drained and dried
• 1 sheet puff pastry
• 2 Tablespoons flour
• 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 190ᵒC (375ᵒF).

2. In a small frying pan, sauté yellow onion and garlic cloves on low heat until fragrant and soft. Remove from heat.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, allspice seasoning, salt and pepper, and two eggs.

4. Once mixed well, combine onion, garlic, and spinach with cheese mixture and set aside.

5. Dust a clean work space with flour and roll out sheet of puff pastry. Roll out pastry to be a 30 cm by 30 cm square (12”x12”). Drape the rolled dough over 9 inch pie dish.

6. Spread spinach mixture inside pastry-lined pie dish. Spread corners of the pastry back over top of spinach filling. If they do not reach each other it is okay.

7. Brush egg wash over pastry and place in oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Enjoy!

I don’t know about you, but for my family we can’t enjoy any Greek food without tzatziki! Tonight wasn’t any different. The spinach pastry tasted absolutely FABULOUS with the tzatziki, actually it made it TEN times better. Mom even told me that I may have made the best tzatziki she has ever had. Even better than a restaurant? She said yes!

Spanakopita and tzatziki

Now that is some tzatziki if mine is better than any restaurant grade stuff!

Interested in this fabulous recipe? Just look below!

Ingredients:

• ½ large cucumber, unpeeled
• 1 cup (245g) plain Greek yoghurt
• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon vinegar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 Tablespoon dried dill

Instructions:

1. Grate cucumber and drain through a fine mesh sieve, preferably overnight in the fridge. (I drained it by hand in a half hour and then squeezed the last bits of liquid from a paper towerl)

2. Combine the yoghurt, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and dill in a large bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight, (or until needed as I did)

3. Transfer grated cucumber into yoghurt mixture and stir to combine. Serve chilled.

Heaven in a bowl is this.

Anyway, I didn’t quite follow the tzatziki recipe, well I did, I just utilized a whole other yoghurt type. Usually I would prefer to have the basic Greek yoghurt, but I got Bulgarian yoghurt. Have you ever heard of that before? I sure haven’t!

Plain Bulgarian Yoghurt

I got the recipe for the tzatziki recipe from the Wanderlust Kitchen, however the direct link for the recipe can be found here.

It is a real hit and you all should truly try it. You can enjoy tzatziki with bread, pitas, or any specific Greek treats!

I hope you all make this entire dish and enjoy it thoroughly just as we have!

Happy eating!

Craving for a Cajun Favourite

It is bloody cold.

I mean it.

Each person feels the cold differently, we are all effected by the lower temperatures in different ways. For me my nose feels it. It gets so incredibly cold and even starts to hurt. I never noticed the sharp pain until today when I noticed the one side of my septum aching. If I still had it pierced I would understand but now? Weird.

Well today was very cold. Winter is officially here. I thought I could rock a thin sweater when I went out with my friend but I was very wrong. I should have worn a wool sweater or something. It is ridiculous how cold I was today!

Cold weather (Don't judge, I know most of you will say this isn't cold)
Cold weather (Don’t judge, I know most of you will say this isn’t cold)

Anyway, it is these types of days that we should enjoy something hot to warm our insides. Heat helps whether it is spice or temperature doesn’t really matter, just as long as it warms you up!

So today I wanted to make a gumbo. Now I had no idea it was going to be such a chilly day, but I am still very happy to have made a gumbo.

Gumbo comes from Louisiana, though it was first made in the mid 1700’s when the African slaves would cook a French soup combined with fish stew. Talk about an ancient food!

When I first was introduced to gumbo I was fifteen and we were invited to a get-together with a couple of daddy’s colleagues. I’m pretty sure the lad who cooked up the gumbo wasn’t even Cajun himself. BUT the meal was spectacular!

It seems that everyone in the oil industry is an expert in something that isn’t originally from their place of origin or passport country. For example dad has a colleague who is Scottish but has a Spanish accent and is far more Venezuelan than he is Scottish. Dad also knows a lad who is Dutch and also is far more Venezuelan than Dutch. So if the non-Cajun whipped up a fantastic gumbo it is pretty normal. At least to us.

Well, I got the recipe from The Housewife in Training Files – LOVE that name! Makes me think of the X-Files but girly, gosh what a nerd I am. The direct link to the recipe can be found here though. I followed mostly everything perfectly except I used fresh okra.

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo
Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 (130g) green bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup (115g) celery, chopped
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (large) clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100g) okra, chopped
  • 1 can (410g) diced tomatoes
  • ½ Tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • Small pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups (750ml) chicken broth
  • 2 breasts (566g) of chicken, diced
  • ¾ cup (400g) frozen shrimp, slightly thawed with tails removed
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/8 a cup cold water – this makes a slurry

What is a slurry? Well it is a semi-liquid mixture such as cement, manure, or cornstarch and water!

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil at a medium heat and mix in flour to make a roux. Once like a paste and fragrant, turn heat to low and mix in vegetables and stir well until vegetables soften. Add diced tomatoes and herbs and spices and cook for an additional five minutes.

  2. While gumbo is cooking, cook your side dish. This usually is rice, however you can also use quinoa as I’ve done.

  3. Add chicken broth, diced chicken, and frozen shrimp. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add slurry and bring to a boil until gumbo has thickened. Serve with your choice of starch.

  4. Enjoy!

So for some weird reason my gumbo was more of a soup consistency than a stew. Kinda annoying if you ask me. But it tasted good. AND it warmed us all up. Though I am back to my cold state. If you guys could feel my nose you would all shiver too! It is like ICE!

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

To try and thicken the consistency we mixed our multicolored quinoa into it. That definitely did the trick.

The biggest issue I had making this was definitely my inability to open up the tin can! Do you ever have the issue where you cannot open a can? I definitely did. Dad actually had to run out to the grocery store and buy TWO more can openers because we were both unable to open my can of diced tomatoes. Ridiculous right?

Assortment of Can Openers
Assortment of Can Openers

So now we have an army can opener – does anyone know how to use it? We have a normal one that cuts around the inside of the circumference of the inside of the lid, and there is the can opener that cuts the entire top of the lip off. The first two from the right are the new ones. That last left hand one is the one I couldn’t work. I feel like an idiot.

But I guess we all have our failures in the kitchen. For some people it is forgetting to put flour in brownies, for others it is sprinkling your breakfast with cumin rather than cinnamon (my friends son does this), and then there is me who is unable to open the can with the can opener.

Cold Trees
Cold Trees

Back to the cold, yesterday I learnt that for the winter the gardeners tend to warm the trees up by wrapping them with the long grass. I guess it really does get cold. This 15ᵒC weather is really cold. Everyone says it. So I guess the trees feel it too. These trees are from the western Cape (closer to Capetown) where it is much warmer, so that is when they wrap ’em in long grass. Interesting right?

Alright, I’m done blabbering. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have!

Happy eating!

Mouthwatering Mexican with Homemade Sauces and a Salad

Oooh Mexican! Now that is one type of cuisine that everyone seems to love! Our family does not exclude that stereotype whatsoever. We definitely love it! Although it seems we prefer homemade Mexican dishes over attending restaurants which serve Mexican dishes. I don’t know about you, but most restaurants we’ve been to seem to have mediocre dishes. Even the guacamole seems to taste so boring at certain Mexican restaurants we have been to!

Well, when I make Mexican influenced dishes, they taste nothing BUT bland!

Before I give you the recipe for my spectacular meal, let me start by telling you that I made all the sauces from scratch. Including the garlic chili sauce (which you can EASILY buy in the store). Why did I make a garlic chili sauce from scratch? Well I mostly didn’t know that could be found in stores here. I mean it is a basic sauce, but so is Sriracha and I only know that to be in the States. So I always need to end up making spicy sauces similar to Sriracha, including this garlic chili sauce.

Garlic Chili Sauce

I got the recipe for the sauce on White on Rice Couple, but the direct link to the recipe can be found here. I mostly followed the recipe, except I used less chilis than the recipe called for. Much less chili’s. The recipe calls for a cup of chilis but I only used two. Just 2. And my mouth was still burning! Not sure how others can handle more than that.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, crushed and sliced
  • ½ (113g) red onion, chopped
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce

Instructions:

  1. Rinse, clean, and remove stems from chili peppers, dry peppers and then and thinly slice.

  2. In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant.

  3. Then add can of tomatoes and chili peppers to garlic and onion and mix. Allow to simmer on low for a minute or two. Now add rice vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce and mix well.

  4. Allow sauce to simmer for five minutes, this will break down the heat from the chili peppers.

  5. Remove pan from heat and allow sauce to completely cool down.

  6. Once cool, pour tomato mixture into a small food processor and blend until smooth.

  7. Pour into a bowl or a sauce boat and use as desired.

When making this much, you make about a cup or so of the sauce. So I used some for my actual Mexican meal, but I’ve got so much that I will use it for multiple things this week! Plus my dad likes spicy so this should be good for him too!

I really do not know how people could handle a cup of chili peppers though, YIKES!

The recipe for the meal itself was found at Simple Roots Wellness, but the direct link for the website can be found here. This recipe calls for a Sriracha sauce, but as I said Sriracha is not found in any of the places I’ve lived as of late so I made my sauce with a garlic-chili sauce flavouring. And delicious it was!

Vegetarian Version

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) Vegetarian Meat Crumbles
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water

Salad:

  • ½ head lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Bunch of cilantro, chopped

Cream Sauce:

  • ½ cup (100g) goat cheese
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce

Instructions:

  1. In a small Wok, sauté veggie meat crumbles.

  2. Add sliced garlic and garlic chili sauce and mix well. Add molasses, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to meat crumbles and mix.

  3. Season with dried oregano, cumin powder, paprika powder, salt and pepper, and water to veggie mince.

  4. Mix well and allow to simmer until liquid becomes a light sauce.

  5. Meanwhile combine goat cheese, water, and garlic chili sauce in a mini food processor until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and place in fridge.

  6. When ready to serve, place lettuce in a bowl and add choice of toppings. Top with veggie meat crumbles and slices of avocado.

  7. Drizzle on cream sauce and enjoy!

This recipe was originally meant to be made with actual mincemeat and as my parents do not eat veggie meat substitutes, I made them the original version of the recipe. If you wish to make the recipe with mincemeat then double everything from the chili sauce to the water for the meat. You can also double the ingredients for the salad. The goat cheese sauce is the same for both the veggie crumbles and normal mincemeat.

Ground Beef version

This was the first time I have ever touched mincemeat in years. I hate cooking it. The smell of the meat in a pan is God awful! I actually never even liked it when I did eat meat way back when.

Cooking it today made me think of middle school, when I took Food Economics. I did love that class. I even learnt how to sew in that class! But I also learnt that I dislike the smell of ground beef! Thankfully I still do!

Anyway, that is the meal for the evening! A fabulous meal indeed. One that each and every one of us truly loved. Including mom who dislikes goat cheese and yet she didn’t mind the goat cheese sauce! Lucky me!

If you all end up making this, I hope you enjoy it! It was a good one!

Spinach Lasagna with a “Secret” Ingredient

It is finally a traditional Meatless Monday! Usually I skip the whole meatless thing and end up making something completely different. If I recall, most of my Monday dishes tend to be shrimp dishes at that. At least they were when I would only cook for myself in Holland.

Well this week we are starting off with a good and healthy meal! Lasagna!

Simple. Easy. Healthy. What more could one ask for?!

All a girl needs is a meal with garlic and she is happy! (Well at least this girl is.)

And making a tomato sauce for your lasagna smells amazing. Chopping your garlic and onions, sautéing them in olive oil in a pan, getting it all aromatic – yummmm. That’s like the natural perfume of the kitchen. Best. Smell. EVER.

Until you burn your garlic. That doesn’t smell too good.

Anyway, I got the recipe from Relish though I did tweak it ever so slightly. The direct link to the recipe can be found here. This recipe made a great dinner and it was quick to make! Probably all due to the no-bake lasagna noodles!

Pre-Baking
Pre-Baking

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (400g) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups (625g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 packages (750g each) frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • ½ package (20g) fresh arugula
  • 1 egg (or 2 small eggs)
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound (453g) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup (73g) parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

  1. To prepare sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.

  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and spices/herbs and stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. If sauce becomes too dry, pour water in one of the cans of tomatoes and mix into tomato mixture until a sufficient amount of liquid has been added. (I only poured half a can of water.)

  3. Preheat oven to 375ᵒF (190ᵒC).

  4. Meanwhile as sauce is simmering away, begin to prepare spinach ricotta mixture. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, arugula, and an egg in a large bowl; mix well.

  5. Coat the bottom of baking dish with a third of the tomato sauce. Cover with 3 noodles without overlapping (break noodles to fit well in dish), half the ricotta mixture, and half the mozzarella slices. Add half remaining sauce, 3 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

  6. Place on baking sheet and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

Can you guess my secret ingredient? Arugula! Or “rocket” as the Dutch call it! My absolute favourite green leafy vegetable would have to be arugula. It has such a lovely taste that I could add it to any sandwich or wrap.

As for the mozzarella, I ended up using two types of mozza. Now I know all of you have heard of buffalo mozzarella, you know that round moist ball of cheese that is incredibly creamy? Well I also used low-moisture mozzarella, this being a normal square of cheese that just so happens to be mozzarella. I have used this same cheese to make tequeños a few months ago as well. Which reminds me, I need to make those again and show you lot what they are and how to make them.

So, how does one photograph lasagna in the best way? I mean once removing it from the pan you made it in? It comes out so sloppy! Anything within a deep dish comes out in the most unattractive way ever! So how do people photograph lasagna in the best way possible? I could only take a photo from within the dish.

Spinach and Arugula LasagnaHow messy is that! Ugh. Nevertheless the meal was great! And super healthy as there was a minimal amount of salt in it! Low sodium meals is a great way to eventually try and lower your high blood pressure. This being something I had most of my childhood due to my heart issue. Honestly, because of that I cannot handle the taste of super salty dishes anyway. I even buy low sodium soy sauce!

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we all have!

Happy eating!

I’ve Returned to the Kitchen with some Chicken

Travel: gotta love it, you get to see old friends and family, make new friends in the process, and best of all you get to be lazy and eat out trying new foods and restaurants!

I love traveling, I love trying new things, though I also love being home and cooking my own meals.

So mom and I just returned from the Netherlands last night around ten o’clock. Our trip to the Netherlands was great. I got to see my family, old school mates, and try new restaurants. I’ll be rating those restaurants on TripAdvisor as well. I should really make a living from rating meals and restaurants…

Anyway, I missed home cooked meals. So I’ve got all sorts of wonderful things planned for the next few days. This evenings meal consists of a Lemon Butter Chicken dish. This butter chicken is not a curry. Just a wonderful meal with a lot of butter and lemon juice.

I usually do not cook with a lot of butter (mostly because my father does not like it) but also because I have horrible images of a very well-known Dutch chef sliding a bunch of butter into whatever meal we were making and then sucking his butter coated finger. He is a great man and chef, has a very lovely and known restaurant in the Netherlands, but when I worked with him I experienced his love of butter. And now I am stuck with such a memory of him enjoying raw butter on his index finger.

Anyway, I got the recipe from DamnDelicious, an amazing website with all sorts. I also follow the writer, Chungah on Instagram. She has the two cutest Corgi’s ever! The direct link for the recipe can be found here though.

I almost followed the recipe to a complete T, just that I minimized the amount of chicken and used the breast of a chicken rather than the thigh. Also, I didn’t minimize the amount of liquid for the gravy. I kept the original recipe for the liquid. I love sauce and gravy that I am almost sad when there is barely any for the meal.

Lemon Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 breasts of chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (235ml) chicken broth
  • ½ cup (120g) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (25g) parmesan, grated
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups (450g) fresh spinach, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ᵒF (204ᵒC)

  2. Season your chicken with paprika powder and salt and pepper.

  3. In a large oven safe pan at a medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter then place chicken in pan. Sear sides till golden brown (approx. 2-3 minutes) and set aside.

  4. Melt remaining butter in pan and add garlic and sauté until fragrant, then add chicken broth, heavy cream, parmesan, lemon juice, and thyme to pan.

  5. Bring to a boil but reduce the heat allowing butter mixture to simmer. Add chopped spinach to mixture and mix until wilted and sauce has thickened slightly.

  6. Replace chicken to pan and pop pan into oven to roast chicken until completely cooked through. Cook for about 30 minutes.

  7. Once ready serve over rice with sauce drizzled over chicken and rice.

  8. Enjoy!

Lemon Butter Chicken on a bed of RiceIf you like a creamy garlic/lemon flavoured dish, you should certainly like this! Especially if you can handle butter!

My mom wasn’t the biggest of fans of this dish, but I didn’t mind it!

I’m sure it was healthier than some of the meals I had while in Holland! I didn’t eat THAT unhealthily, but I sorta did. I mean our last lunch meal was from a snack bar! My mom had the typical Dutch kroket while I went for kipcorn! Kipcorn being a chicken stick.

Broodje Kipcorn met fritjesAnyway I hope you will all enjoy this dish!

Happy eating!

Lentil Curry Meatless Monday

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a Meatless Monday and you know what? Today I’ve got a Meatless Monday Meal for y’all! Woohoo!

So my dad thinks he should go on a diet and his version of a diet is meat and veg. Well since I do not eat most of the meat he likes I thought I would give him a protein packed vegetarian meal. The best protein packed ingredient that I know he also enjoys would have to be lentils so that is what I made for dinner tonight, something very lentil filled.

I got the recipe from here but I was very dissatisfied by the way it was written. Both the instructions and the grammar were atrocious. Though it could just be that I dislike poor spelling and grammar. So if you are like me and dislike poorly written recipes just read below and you will see my version of the recipe!

Spinach Lentil Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
  • 5 cups (565g) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the red lentils, spinach, half the garlic, red onion, and green chili in a large pan until spinach has wilted. Then pour water and bouillon cube into pan and allow lentils to cook. When lentils are finally soft drain water (though keep it to adjust consistency of curry).

  2. With a handheld food processor or potato masher mash cooked lentils and vegetables to a semi-purée with chunks. Add salt for more flavour.

  3. Use stock water to make a more curry-like consistency.

  4. In a small frying pan fry the remainder of the garlic, add cumin, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Cook until a smooth hot consistency.

  5. Pour hot garlic-mustard mixture into lentils and mix well.

  6. Serve with rice and/or naan.

Lentil Spinach CurryI’m sure cumin seeds and mustard seeds would have made a better combination for the flavouring but I just used American mustard and cumin powder from a jar. Why buy something you won’t end up using another day?

I do not know if you all know of my background in the hospitality industry, but I had a teacher who would call the handheld food processor a dildo and now to this day I call that device the dildo. Thanks Mr. Young! There are a few items that I sexualize due to my teachers actually. Mr. Young made certain kitchen devices sexual while Mr. C would make the professional coffee machine in the restaurant dirty. I guess it is a good way to remember what to do and how to clean things. Kind of like acronyms to help you remember certain things in school.

Anyway this was my meal for the day and it went pretty well. I am definitely full and believe my parents are too. Lentils definitely rock and keep us well fed!

If you all end up making this I hope you enjoy it too! Curry is always nice for a cold day for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

Happy eating!