Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pressed Pizza Sandwich

This one is a quick prep but takes a bit of time before you can eat it. Pressed sandwiches are awesome for picnics, lunches, anytime...

Pizza Sandwich

2 Portuguese rolls (or any soft crusted roll)
6 slices salami
6 slices mozzarella
Jar of roasted red peppers
Basil pesto

Cut a small slice off the top of the rolls (or whatever bread like thing you've got on hand) and scoop out the middle of the roll to make a well to put the goodies in.

Smear a little bit of pesto on the bottom of the hollowed out roll, and on the "lid". In the bottom of the roll, lay some roasted red peppers. Top with a layer of salami, and then a layer of mozzarella cheese. Though I think I did cheese, meat, cheese for this one)

Put the lid on the bun and wrap tightly in saran wrap. Now it's time to smush them!

I used our big wooden cutting board with a cast iron frying pan and 2 cans of beans to press these babies. I left them under the cutting board for 6 hours, and then popped them in the fridge until it was time for us to eat them.

Pressed sandwiches are awesome! You can put any combination of stuff in there...grilled veggies, meats, cheeses, peanut butter and banana...whatever!

This combo just happened to taste like pizza (which was a pleasant surprise).

Crockpot Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

An amazing recipe that I found here. I'm so glad I did!

Pulled Pork

1.5 kg pork shoulder (it could have been bigger...this made lots of sauce)
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can Dr Pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup demerera sugar
1 small onion, cut into rings

Toss everything into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

1 pkg broccoli slaw
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small clove garlic, grated
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne

Throw everything but the slaw into a food processor and blend it up. Pour over slaw, mix well, and refrigerate until it's time to eat.

Truthfully, I used about 3/4 of the bag of slaw and my slaw was plenty saucy (after it set up in the fridge for a few hours).

I bought small whole wheat dinner rolls, but it would have been equally awesome (maybe even better) on fresh corn tortillas, warmed in the cast iron pan. Next time!

At the end of the cooking time, the meat should be so tender it will very easily pull apart. Pile some on the bun (or in the tortilla), spoon some of the sauce on top (alternately, you can take some of the sauce and thicken it in a saucepan by adding some cornstarch slurry).

Top meat with some slaw and enjoy!

I served it up with some sweet potato and beet chips (warmed in the oven from the chip bag to make them taste a bit fresher).

Leftovers would be great on a pizza, or on nachos.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Bean Nachos

This was a quick "throw together" meal.

Needed: tortilla chips, taco seasoning, shredded cheese, black olives, chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado, jalepenos, salsa, sour cream...whatever you like on or with your nachos.

Black Bean Nachos

Filled the bottom of a 9" pie plate with some multigrain tortilla chips.

I heated up a can of black beans and seasoned them with my taco seasoning and a little water. Once that was done, I topped the nachos with the seasoned beans.

On that went a TON of cheese. Whatever it was that we had in the fridge...probably farmer's marble.

Sliced black olives, very finely chopped onion, diced (seeded) tomato, and a little more cheese went on top of the cheese.

It was baked in a 350 degree oven for about 15 or 20 minutes until all the cheese was gooey.

I chopped jalepenos and put them on the side because Quinn doesn't need that kind of surprise. The avocado was on the side as well because I don't like it warm. At all. Salsa and sour cream on the side as well, works.

St. Paddy's Day Eats

We had a delicious meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.

St. Paddy's Day Eats

I didn't corn my own brisket. I'm not going to apologize. I pulled it out of the package and simmered it for 3 hours. In the last hour and a half, I tossed a handful of baby red potatoes into the pot.

I had made a soda bread and froze half of it, so I pulled that out of the freezer and whipped up a little butter with a drop of honey and some chopped chives.

The cabbage was quartered and cut very thinly. A couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom of a skillet, some salt, and a tablespoon of butter, did the job to steam the cabbage. I finished it off with another tablespoon of butter and pepper, and added a bit more salt to taste.

I made a buttermilk horseradish gravy to finish it off. I took 1 cup of the water that the potatoes and meat simmered in, heated it up with 1 cup of buttermilk. I made a slurry of 2 tblsp cornstarch and 2 tblsp water and whisked it into the mixture, simmering low until thickened. Then I added about 3 big tsps of prepared horseradish (tasting as I went).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Velvet Pancakes

I've been meaning to try these since I saw the recipe around Valentine's Day. I finally got the chance tonight!

They were a hit, and I think I'm going to have to make them more often.

Red Velvet Pancakes

1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons Ruddy Red cocoa powder (unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder)
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon red food coloring (you can eliminate this if you like)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Add wet to dry and stir just until combined. You don't want to overmix.

I added about 1/8 cup water to loosen up the batter, but that's because mine was really thick.

Drop by 1/3 cup onto a buttered skillet or griddle and cook until done.

This cooked enough pancakes for two adults with 2 small cakes for the wee one.

I served this with a little cut up fruit and it made for a great "breakfast for dinner".

Bean and Portobello Burgers

I saw this recipe on Self Magazine's site and adjusted it to suit us.

Black Bean and Portobello Burger

4 tblsp olive oil
2 medium portobello mushrooms, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
1 tblsp honey mustard
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup oatmeal, ground (or more - or you can use breadcrumbs)
4 whole wheat pitas, naan, or buns
Barbecue sauce
Spring mix (or lettuce leaves)
Tomato slices
Shredded cheddar cheese

Heat 2 tblsp olive oil in a large skillet and cook mushrooms, onion and bell pepper until pepper begins to soften (6 mins or so). Add beans, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir and smash beans with the back of the spoon for another couple of minutes

Transfer mixture to bowl and let cool slightly (a couple of minutes). Add egg whites, honey mustard, worcestershire sauce, and oats.

Note: Grind oats in a food processor to help bind the burgers. You can use breadcrumbs instead. You may need to eyeball the measurement depending on the moisture content of your mixture. You want to be able to form it into a patty and have it stay together (without it being as heavy as a rock).

Wipe skillet and heat remaining oil to medium. Form mixture into four patties (or more) and cook in the skillet until burgers are golden brown and have a nice crust.

Dress burgers with lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese (or anything else you may like).

I served mine with a cold broccoli salad (raw broccoli dressed with a combo of mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, a touch of salt, and fine dice of red onion).

We all really enjoyed this burger, but it needed...something. Maybe a little cilantro would brighten it up. Next time!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


When posed with the question "What do you want? Bean and portobello burgers or tacos?" Don laughed. I knew what his answer would be.

So tonight is taco night!

We get corn tortillas from a Mexican Mennonite place here in town. They make them fresh, with no preservatives, and they are excellent for anything we used to use whole wheat bread for. I love cheese melted between them, or peanut butter and, I'm hungry.

I prefer to make my taco seasoning because it gives me a chance to control what is in it. It's not difficult and doesn't use any crazy exotic ingredients - most people I know have all the components. Why would you WANT to eat something out of a package (containing who knows what?) that you can make so easily (and quickly)?

I brown my ground sirloin, add a bit of water and the below seasonings, and let it simmer on low for an hour or so. I'm sure this would work with TVP as well, but I can't stand the stuff.

I heat up the corn tortillas in a dry frying pan, and pack them with meat, cheese, tomato and sour cream (and avocado and fresh cilantro, if we have them handy). That's how we like them.

Taco Seasoning

1 tblsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh, grated in)
1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1/2 a fresh onion, finely diced)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried cumin
Pinch salt

I taste after a bit and adjust the above, to taste.

I'd love to get my mitts on some ground chipotle. That would make my taco seasoning extra delicious!

By the way, if you don't have smoked paprika, you can use "regular" paprika.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vegetables with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Polenta

I made my own polenta rather than going for the instant stuff (and definitely not the premade stuff). The veggies were pretty basic, and the sauce was SPECTACULAR. I will totally use that again...for pasta sauce, sandwich spread, whatever!

This recipe served the three of us. I'm going to break it down into its three parts.



3 cups stock or water
1 tsp butter
1 cup coarse cornmeal (I used medium grind because that's what I had, and it worked fine)
2/3 cup grated parmesan (divided in 2)
Dash of cayenne

In a saucepan, bring stock or water to boil. Add butter and allow to melt. Slowly pour in cornmeal, whisking to keep it from clumping together. Turn heat down to low, cover, and stir every couple of minutes to keep it from clumping or burning to the bottom of the pan. This will take about 35 minutes to thicken. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan and the cayenne, and taste for seasoning. If you're using water, you may need to add salt.

Pour into a lightly creased cast iron skillet, or 9" pie pan, and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Once the veggies (the next step) come out, top the cooled polenta with the final 1/3 cup parmesan and place under broiler about 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

If you like your polenta loose, serve it up immediately. If you like it a little more like a cake, let it sit 20 minutes or so to set.


Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tblsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tblsp chopped fresh thyme
10 small asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
4 green onions, trimmed
2 small Chinese eggplants, cut into 1/3" half circles
1 small yellow squash or zucchini, cut into 1/3" half circles
10 cherry tomatoes

Preheat broiler and set the rack to about 6" from the top. Line baking sheet with foil.

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and toss to coat. Arrange on baking sheet in one layer and pop into oven for 5-10 minutes (or more) until you start to see colour on the vegetables.

Flip the veggies and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

(At this point you'd toss the polenta into the oven)


1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1/3 cup broth
1 large clove garlic
A few leaves of fresh basil
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

Throw all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend up. My red peppers had bonus!garlic so I threw those in, as well as the raw garlic. I love garlic!

Putting it Together

Top a slice of polenta with some roasted veggies and smother with sauce. I garnished with a bit more fresh basil and a few black olives.