Monday, January 31, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing

This is another Chef Michael Smith gem. It will be added to our regular rotation for sure!


1 chipotle pepper in adobo
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
2 tblsp agave syrup or honey
1 tbslp dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
4 tblsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 tblsp chili powder
Pinch salt
3 tblsp vegetable oil
Mixed baby greens
1 bunch cilantro
4 green onions, sliced thinly
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (not heated)
Tortilla chips, crumbled by hand

In a blender, puree all of the dressing ingredients (adding the oil in a slow, steady stream at the end, as the blender is running).

In a shallow bowl, whisk together cornmeal, chili powder and salt. Slice chicken into long thin strips. Preheat a skillet and add vegetable oil. Dredge chicken strips in cornmeal mixture and fry in pan until chicken is cooked through.

Lay a bed of lettuce on a plate (or salad bowl), sprinkle cilantro and green onions over top. Mound tomatoes, black beans, avocado and corn on top of lettuce. Arrange chicken strips and drizzle dressing over the whole works. Crumble tortilla chips on top.

If you like, you can shred a little cheese on top.

I served the salad with cornmeal muffins.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tandoori(ish) Chicken, Mashed Chick Peas, and Pepper and Onion Salad

Saw this recipe on Food Network Canada, and since we love Indian food, I was excited to make this.

I learned that I can make tandoori(ish) chicken. I also learned that our smoke detector does, indeed, work...and it's LOUD.


2 pitas (or Naan if you can get it)

1 cup plain yogurt
2 inches grated ginger root
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut across in 1/2...the same amount of marinade can be used with 4 chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper
1 can chick peas (good for decent sized servings for 3 up a second can if there are more)
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tblsp tahini paste (use natural peanut butter if you don't have tahini)

1/2 small red onion, very small dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, very small dice
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime juiced
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of honey
Splash of green tabasco sauce
(I used the last three ingredients in lieu of the hot banana pepper rings and a bit of juice from the jar which I didn't think would be good, but after tasting it, I'm going to try it next time I make this, and ignore the last 3)

I chose to mix up the yogurt and spices (yogurt to olive oil from the above list) and marinated the chicken for a few hours. It's not necessary.

Preheat your oven to 500 (or as high as your oven goes). Cover a baking sheet with foil and if you have a baking rack, stick it on top.

Place chicken on baking rack (or right on the foil, if you don't have a rack). Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken reaches a temp of 190 (or until it's cooked).

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Grate 1 clove garlic into warm oil. Put drained and rinsed chick peas in the bowl of a food processor, tahini (or peanut butter) and chicken stock and pulse until chopped. Scoop chick pea mash into skillet and warm through on low.

Combine red onion, bell peppers and cilantro. Add lime juice, vinegar, and honey (or add chopped hot peppers and juice to onion, peppers and cilantro). Drizzle a little olive oil over and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Warm the pitas (or naan) in the oven.

Serve pepper and onion salad over the chicken, with mashed chick peas on the side. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the whole lot and eat up!

Serve chicken with lime wedges to squeeze over top. Serve mashed chick peas alongside. Top the chicken with pepper salad. Cut pitas in half and pass at table.

Lemon Budino

I saw this recipe on Epicurious and it made my mouth water just reading about it! I had to try it.

I love all things lemon. Years and years ago, a friend's Mom made this Lemon Surprise (I think she called it). It was like magic. She mixed a whole bunch of stuff together, threw it in the oven, and when it came out, it had separated into a fluffy mound surrounded by a gorgeous lemon sauce.

I'd forgotten about that dessert until I pulled these little "puddings" out of the oven, and I was so in love with them that I ate 3 of the 6 individual ramekins within an hour of them being done. I'm not embarrassed. They were good!

The recipe calls for Meyer lemons and regular lemons, but my grocery store doesn't carry Meyer lemons (though if they ever did, I would totally give it a try!

Mine probably could have been a little darker, but I was impatient...and they were cooked.


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
3 large eggs, seperated
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tblsp fresh regular lemon juice (I just used the juice from 2 regular lemons)
2 tblsp Meyer lemon zest (I just zested a whole regular lemon)
3/4 cup plus 2 tblsp whole milk

Put a pot (or kettle of water on to boil). You'll need to utilize a bain marie (in this case, the ramekins will be placed in a 13 x 9 baking pan you'll pour boiling water into the pan). This technique will help cook the eggs evenly and maintain humidity in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter 6 3/4 cup ramekins.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until well blended and then whisk in milk.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Slowly add remaining 2 tblsp sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Gently fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in two batches. Gently pour into buttered ramekins. Place ramekins in baking pan and carefully (don't let it splash into the batter) pour hot water into pan until it reaches the halfway point of the ramekins.

Bake for about 30 minutes. The puddings will be golden on top and spring back lightly when touched. Take them out of the water and serve warm.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Yum

This is another one of those busy night, quick and tasty meals.

I usually have chicken breast in the freezer, broccoli in the fridge (it's one of the only veggies Quinn likes right now), and sauce and pasta in the cupboard.

You could use leftover chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, whatever you have or whatever is easiest for you. I usually just poach a couple of chicken breasts.

This recipe comes from the President's Choice website.


1 box high fibre pasta
1 jar alfredo pasta sauce (or quattro fromaggi pasta sauce)
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (I also use the stem)
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook pasta as directed, in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. In the last 4 minutes, I throw the broccoli in with the pasta. Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water, and drain pasta and broccoli.

Mix pasta, broccoli, pasta water, pasta sauce and chicken. Pour into a casserole dish, top with parmesan cheese, and cook for 10-12 minutes until cheese browns a touch.

Serve with fresh ground pepper.

Tuna Casserole, Redesigned

I grew up eating tuna casserole. From what I remember, it was egg noodles, a can of tuna, some cream of whatever soup, and frozen peas. My Mom put frozen peas in everything.

I saw this recipe that Janet and Greta Podleski put together. I mentioned them a couple of days ago. They have cookbooks and shows dedicated to redesigning not so good for you recipes and boosting the nutritional value without sacrificing flavour.

Tuna casserole is a quick meal to put together, and most people have those 3 items in their cupboard (and some frozen or fresh veg in the fridge to throw in).

But there has to be a better way!

Janet and Greta worked their magic and came up with this gem. The below recipe makes 4 large portions. It was the first time that I had made a sauce using evaporated milk instead of cream or soup mix and I was very happy with the results.


4 cups uncooked high-fibre rotini pasta
1 cup frozen green peas (or another vegetable)
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup diced yellow onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 10oz can 2% evaporated milk (13 oz/370 mL)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Grated zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup packed shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 oz/85 g)
1/2 cup packed shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz/56 g)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 can wild salmon, well drained (6 oz/170 g)
1 can tuna, well drained (6 oz/170 g)

Janet and Greta suggest getting all your stuff chopped, shredded and otherwise prepped before beginning this recipe. It's a good habit to get into.

Put a pot of water on to boil, and cook the pasta according to directions. Unlike my previous tuna casserole ventures, this one won't be going into the oven for a final heat-up, so cook the pasta how you want to eat it.

While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic and cook until soft (about 4 minutes). Add broth. In a separate bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and flour until smooth and add to pot. Cook until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken, stirring frequently.

Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (and leaves a clear path when you swipe your finger across it), stir in mustard, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove pot from heat and add cheeses, stirring until melted. Add drained tuna and salmon and mix. Add drained noodles and peas and mix well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good For You Taco Dip...

...or at least better than a traditional taco dip.

I found this recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry for a taco dip...and, although I don't love the show (too much of the "this is baaaaad, you must eat thiiiisss) type stuff, I do really enjoy the Podleski sisters' cookbooks, and know that most of the dishes that they come up with are pretty darned good.

This is their Macho Nacho Dip.

It's very, very good...and has some adjustments from the traditional, fat laden taco dip (which I LOVE). Some of these things might sound kind of disgusting (hello...mushy peas in the guac?!?!) but this is really, really good!

It takes a bit of work to put together, and needs a couple of hours (at least) to set up, but it's worth it. The original recipe apparently serves 15, but I made some adjustments to fill an 8" casserole that fed the three of us, with leftovers. Here's my recipe, with the mods I made.

Taco Dip

Beans Layer

1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can green chilis (keep liquid)
2 tblsp low sodium taco seasoning

Throw it all in a blender, puree until smooth. Place in bottom of dish you're using (I used a round glass casserole, about 8"). Pop in fridge while you work on the second layer.

The Green Stuff

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
1 large avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
Salt & pepper

In food processor (or food mill) blend up peas, avocado, and lime juice. Dump in a bowl and stir in grated garlic and onion, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Spoon and smooth onto bean layer in casserole. Put back into fridge.

The Creamy Stuff

1 cup sour cream
1 package light cream cheese with garden vegetables, room temp

You can mix these up by hand, but I like making it super creamy, so back to the food processor you go with these two beauties. Blend them together until smooth. Spread onto green layer in casserole. Pop back into fridge.

The Red Stuff

Some salsa you like (jarred, homemade, whatever)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Layer salsa over creamy layer, sprinkle on the cilantro.

At this point, I covered it with plastic wrap and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set up. You CAN add the cheese and veggies before letting it set, I think that's how the original recipe specified, but I don't like soggy cheese and veggies.

Cheese and Veggies

1 cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar, monterey jack, whatever you like)
Sliced black olives
Sliced green onions
(red bell pepper, shredded lettuce, whatever veggies you want to add)

Throw everything on top, and serve with chips.

I like the multigrain tortilla chips (though I wish they weren't so damned salty!), and I love heating them up a little in the oven. It makes them a smidge crispier and fresher tasting.

This went over very well.