Monday, 25 December 2017

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Making mashed potatoes in the slow cooker has changed my turkey dinner strategy for the better. I can peel and chop the potatoes hours in advance, and it clears up the stove top for other, last minute preparations like gravy.
I didn't take a photo, because, frankly, they look like any other mashed potatoes you've ever seen.
I made these for the second time on Christmas day, and this time I added sour cream, and it took them up a notch.

Ingredients

5lbs yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, sliced into pieces
1.5 cups water
Garlic powder, to taste
Onion powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

Directions

Peel and chop potatoes, and place in a bowl of cold water, fully submerged. Strain water, and place half the potatoes in the slow cooker. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the minced garlic on top. Add half the sliced butter pieces on top, evenly spaced. Add the second half of the potatoes, season again, and add remaining garlic and butter. Pour water over potatoes. Place the lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.

When cook time is complete, add milk and sour cream, and mash. Add more salt, pepper and/or butter to taste.

Potatoes will stay hot for a long time, so you can turn off the slow cooker completely, or leave it set to warm, if you need them to stay hot for over an hour.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce


Anna, almost daily: "Can we have dinner at 4:30?" Me: "It will be ready at 5." Me: Makes dinner at 4:30 today. Anna: "I'm not that hungry, I didn't think we'd be eating so early."

I made the marinara sauce in the slow cooker a couple weeks ago and froze it. We recently bought a stand up freezer for the basement, so I'm going bananas filling it with homemade soups, sauces and breads.

The marinara sauce was super easy, 10 minutes of prep, and 10 minutes at the end to blend. I made my sauce thick by draining a little liquid off the top of the canned tomatoes before adding them to the slow cooker pot. If you prefer a thinner sauce, you could leave that liquid in. Simon described the sauce as tasting "rustic," so take that as you will. You don't have to worry too much about chopping, because you'll blend it all later anyway, so you can leave things chunky, which cuts back on prep time.

I served this with Chicken & Rice Meatballs, spiralized zucchini "noodles" sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and fettucine.

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped into large slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (28oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves

Directions

Layer all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove bay leaves and use immersion blender to blend until smooth. Serve immediately, or allow to cool, and scoop into freezer friendly containers to freeze for later use.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Goat Cheese & Chive Twice Baked Potatoes


Potatoes are my favourite food. My potato obsession was elevated to an even greater level when I discovered that I could slow cook baked potatoes. I haven't used the oven to make baked potatoes since.

White potatoes have had a bad rap nutritionally over the past couple decades, but they are high in fibre, packed with potassium, and they are the highest ranked food on the satiety index (a measure of how long a food keeps you feeling full). Potatoes are your friend.

To make the twice baked potatoes, use the slow cooker potato recipe listed above first. Remove them from the foil, and place them on a cooling rack for an hour to cool down. It's fine if they are lukewarm when you start making the twice baked potatoes.

Ingredients

3 Russet potatoes, baked and cooled
140g goat cheese (small package)
Fresh chives, sliced small, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the potato flesh, leaving a 3mm border alongside the potato skin to maintain the structure. Place the scooped out potato flesh into a medium sized bowl. Use a potato masher to break up the potato chunks. Add goat cheese, chives, olive oil, and salt and pepper to the bowl, and mash again. Scoop the goat cheese mixture back into the potatoes, packing it in. Top with additional chives and black pepper.
Place on the top rack of the barbecue to crisp up the potato skins and melt the cheese, or place in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Spiralizer Chicken & Zoodles with Pesto Alfredo Sauce


I love my spiralizer, and I love making zucchini noodles ("zoodles") to replace some pasta with veggies, but the downside of it is that the zucchini noodles don't hold their heat for very long. I also really love pesto, but it shouldn't be heated either. A few months ago, I made zoodles with pesto, and it was lukewarm at best. Anna recently introduced me to the wonders of Pesto Alfredo Sauce. Who knew you could even mix these? I didn't until now, but it tastes amazing. This way, I could heat the alfredo sauce, and then I stirred in a few tablespoons of pesto before pouring it over the dish. I also like to mix in a small serving of actual pasta, not just zoodles. Using zoodles means I can eat a giant heaping plate of "noodles." Anna sliced the zoodles for me this time, and she used the larger slider on the spiralizer, which paired really nicely with the wider fettuccine noodles.

I didn't really measure anything on this, so use fettuccine, garlic, olive oil, etc. as you see fit. I also used jarred sauce, because it was a weeknight. Feel free to make homemade if you like!

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite sized pieces
3 zucchinis, spiralized with the larger spiral blade (slice onto a paper towel to drain off some water)
Fettuccine noodles, boiled as per instructions on package
Minced garlic, to taste
Olive oil, for greasing pan
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Jar of alfredo sauce
Jar of pesto
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions

Cook fettuccine noodles according to directions on package and drain.

Heat alfredo sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.

In a large wok, add olive oil and garlic and set to medium heat. Add sliced chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, and mix occasionally until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add more olive oil and garlic to the wok, and turn heat up to high. Add spiralized zucchini to wok, tossing continuously. Season with salt and pepper.

When alfredo is hot, remove from heat and stir in a few tablespoons of pesto sauce, to taste.

When zucchini is cooked, but still slightly firm, remove it from heat. Place fettuccine and zoodles in a a serving bowl and add chicken. Top with pesto alfredo mixture, and add parmesan cheese, to taste.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Zesty Lime Shrimp Salad


Me, today: "Simon's in Europe right now, Anna is at her mom's...I CAN EAT SEAFOOD!" Seriously, have you ever noticed there are no seafood or fish recipes on this blog? It's because both of them think any kind of seafood or fish is absolutely disgusting, so I can't make it for dinner. I love seafood. Every time I got off the ship in Katakolon, Greece (near Olympia), I'd go to restaurant there and order grilled squid stuffed with feta, tomato and basil. It was probably the best thing I've ever eaten. For everyone who is grossed out by squid tentacles, they are the best part. They get really crispy on the grill.

I didn't feel like cooking anything (being home alone, and all), and all this recipe requires is vegetable chopping (side note: I highly recommend listening to true crime podcasts while chopping vegetables, see below for my recommendations). It's like Pico de Gallo and a Cobb salad rolled into one. I didn't measure everything, I just added things to my taste, so feel free to add or subtract things as you see fit.

This would make a great recipe for a side salad at a barbecue, and it can sit in the fridge to take to work the next day for a cold lunch. And please don't be that person that heats fish in the microwave at work.

Here are my recommendations for true crime podcasts (in no particular order):
Sword & Scale
True Crime Garage
Generation Why
In Sight
Casefile

Ingredients

340g (12oz) 150-200 cooked, peeled shrimp, thawed
2 Roma tomatoes diced, with seeds removed
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, finely diced (1/2 for mild heat, 1 for medium heat)
2 baby cucumbers, sliced and quartered
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup canned black beans, drained
1/2 avocado, diced
Cilantro, to taste
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Kraft Italian Zesty Lime salad dressing, to taste

Directions

Put thawed shrimp in large bowl. Drain black beans, and add to bowl. Dice tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cucumbers and add to bowl. Add corn, salt and pepper, and salad dressing. Mix well to combine. If serving immediately, add diced avocado, cilantro and feta. Mix salad again. Plate, and add feta on top.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Coconut Lime Cake with Pineapple (Dairy-free, Gluten free)


Simon loves any food with coconut, sweet or savoury. I asked him what kind of cake he'd like for his birthday...Coconut, obviously. He can't tolerate dairy products, so I had recently purchased coconut milk whipped cream to try it out.
This stuff is *delicious,* as in hard-to-stop-eating level of delicious. Simon asked for a cake that had this on top, so my goal was a cake that had the right flavours to pair with coconut milk whipped cream. I used an entire containers to ice this cake, so if you want to cover the sides too, you'll need two containers.

I love working with almond flour and coconut flour because they add a great depth of flavour, and, even more conveniently, they don't rise very much. This makes them perfect for a layered cake, because they bake perfectly flat.

Ingredients for TWO layers

4 cups almond flour (2 cups each)
1 cup coconut flour  (1/2 cup each)
1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp each)
2 tsp baking soda (1 tsp each)
2 tsp baking powder (1 tsp each)
(Divide all dry ingredients equally into two large bowls)
8 large eggs
1 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest from 2 limes (about 2 tsp)
Juice from 2 limes

Toppings: 
1 tbsp shredded coconut
Fresh pineapple

Directions

In two large bowls, combine dry ingredients and mix.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, convection bake. Grease two matching 9 inch round cake pans.

In a third large bowl, add eggs, and use a hand mixer or whisk until they are light and frothy. Add in maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, zest and juice.

Pour half of the wet mixture into the two bowls of dry ingredients. Fold to combine. The mixture will look grainy. Pour batter from both bowls into greased cake pans. The batter will be thick, so smooth it out flat with a spatula.

Place side by side in the oven for 28-30 minutes. Cakes will be lightly browned. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides to loosen the cakes from the pans. Carefully flip over onto a cooling rack to cool.


When cakes are completely cooled, add a thick layer of coconut milk whipped cream (half of the container) evenly onto one cake. Very carefully, slide a large spatula under the second cake and place it on top of the bottom layer. Add another layer of whipped cream on top.

Top with coconut and pineapple.

Enjoy!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken Drumsticks


Anna tried this dish and said, "I don't know what you did to this chicken, but it's really good." Noted, and will definitely make this again! This chicken is baked, but it really does have the crispiness of fried chicken.

This is actually the third time I've made this recipe, but it was slightly different each time, depending on what I had on hand. The first time, I made it with regular breadcrumbs; the second, I used regular paprika. Clearly the winner was panko breadcrumbs and smoked paprika. I mostly just tossed spices in and didn't measure, so I'm estimating on this a bit.

Makes 16 drumsticks

Ingredients

3/4 cup Kellogg's Corn Flakes (crush to tiny pieces by hand, or put in a food processor)
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (or to taste)
1 tsp dried parsley
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
16 chicken drumsticks with skin on

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (convection bake). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with canola oil spray.

Mix Corn Flakes, panko breadcrumbs, spices and herbs in a medium sized bowl. Roll drumsticks in breading mixture to fully coat. Place on baking sheet evenly spaced.

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven to turn chicken drumsticks over quickly. Place baking sheet back in oven for 15 more minutes, until coating is crispy and browned.