Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Have you ever had a  craving to devour a big plate of buffalo wings but bathing suit season is coming and you’re trying to be careful what you eat? Well, this may not be super low-cal, but it’s a lot less fat and calories than a pound of wings and is as delicious and more satisfying.  Make your favourite salad (dressing recipe link below) – adding in some carrot, celery and chunks of blue cheese (if you like that) and prepare a simple sauce and chicken breast chunks.  We love this as one of our ‘indulgent’ dinners – still keeping the carbs down but maximizing on flavour.  Once you make it, you’ll be making it again – guaranteed. Continue reading

Chicken Piccata (Lemon Chicken)

chicken piccata (lemon chicken)

This is a family favourite that I’ve been making for years.  It’s a classic and I’ve been asked several times to post the recipe and method.  It is essentially easy with relatively few ingredients, however, it does involve some technique.  Once you complete the recipe following all the steps, you will have a good understanding  of it’s simplicity but also of the necessity of the technicalities. It is fairly quick to prepare (and even moreso when you know how to do it), but I find prepping the ingredients ahead allows you to cook it quickly and efficiently.  I use coconut milk but feel free to substitute 35% cream. Continue reading

Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast

Slow-cooked pot roast, pureed cauliflower, gravy, green salad, beet horseradish

This is a great time of year to pull out the slow-cooker and figure out how to cook with it.  I use it as often as possible because it means I’ve dealt with my dinner-making obligation early in the day and I can move on to other fun stuff – like baking and eating baking.  Besides that, everyone should know how to make a pot roast, it’s a Canadian staple dinner.

Anyhow, I bought a grass-fed beef sirloin tip roast – it works well for pot roast — or use a blade or other tough chunk of beef. We’ll be cooking it low and slow so all those fibrous strands of meat will break down in the process, all the while providing some great flavour.  I chose ‘grass-fed’ because that is what cows are supposed to eat naturally and I believe that it is way, way more healthy to eat this kind of beef.

You will need to make a flavour base to cook this in. Follow along with what I’ve used, but please feel free to stray from this guideline and use what you like and/or have on hand.

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

serves 6

2-3 lb beef roast (blade, sirloin tip)

2 medium onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (I used shiraz – use a good wine)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (use any kind)

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp tamari or soya sauce

2 tsp ground ginger

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup bbq sauce

ground black pepper

to thicken gravy:

1/2 cup water mixed with 2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

Turn slow-cooker on to high.  Spread diced onions along bottom of cooker.   Unwrap and wipe off roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter until melted over med-high heat. Brown roast on all sides.  Place browned roast on top of onions.

In separate medium-sized saucepan, put in the rest of the ingredients (except water and cornstarch).  Bring to a boil and stir. Pour mixture over beef roast in slow-cooker. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.  When roast is tender (can pull apart with a fork), remove from liquid to a plate and tent with foil. Mix up water/cornstarch mixture and stir into liquid in slow cooker (on high). (If there is alot of fat on top of liquid, remove as much as possible before doing this). When thickened, pour into a gravy boat. Slice meat. Serve with horseradish (or beet horseradish – even better)…boiled or mashed  potatoes and carrots – or for a healthier, lower carb option – pureed cooked cauliflower and a green salad. Cheers.

Brown roast over medium-high heat

Brown roast on all sides

Mix all ingredients (except water/cornstarch) in medium saucepan.

pour mixture over roast in slow-cooker

Add cornstarch/water mixture to liquid in slow-cooker to thicken

Slice roast, serve with gravy

Grilled Cubano Sandwich with Slow-cooked Peameal Bacon

Grilled Cubano Sandwich: crunchy, cheesy, tangy, savoury, delcious.

Ever wonder why those slices of fried peameal bacon are just a little too tough and unappetizing?  I did, until I tasted a peameal bacon sandwich at a motorcycle show and watched to see how they prepared it. It was so good…I noticed they had it slow-roasting in liquid… I rushed home and bought a whole peameal bacon and tried it in my slow-cooker. Mystery solved. The result is a tasty, tender piece of meat that you’ll be proud to serve company for a delicious lunch, or simply have in the fridge for the week for breakfasts and lunches.  Give it a try, then make up  these Cubano sandwiches – something different and so very tasty too.

Slow-roasted Peameal Bacon

1 uncooked Peameal Bacon Slab

1 cup of water

Directions: Pour water into slow cooker, set on high. Place peameal bacon into slowcooker. (water should come about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way up the side of the slab of bacon). After 1/2 an hour, turn slow-cooker to low. Cook for 3 more hours, rotating after 1.5 hours.  Remove bacon from slow-cooker to cutting board to cool slightly. Slice thinly.

Grilled Cubano Sandwich

adapted from Chatelaine magazine

Makes 2 big sandwiches

Ingredients:

4 slices of  (good quality) white bread (a nice chewy bread works well, like sourdough)

2 tsp dijon mustard

several thin slices of peameal bacon – according to your own taste

dill pickle slices (enough to cover your sandwich)

4 slices swiss cheese

Olive oil – to brush the sides of your bread

Directions Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of dijon mustard.  Top 2 pieces of bread with peameal bacon slices, pickles and swiss cheese. Top with other 2 bread slices, brush outside of bread with olive oil. Heat large pan over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan, cooking until golden brown, then flipping and cooking other side the same way. Remove from pan, let stand for a minute of two before slicing. Enjoy.

place whole uncooked peameal bacon in slow cooker in an inch of water

After slow cooking for 4 hours, cool slightly and slice thinly

spread dijon on bread slices, layer with peameal bacon

layer sliced dill pickles and swiss cheese, top with bread, brush with olive oil and grill

grill until golden brown

Slice and enjoy...so good. Yum.

Grilled Cubano Sandwich

Kick-Ass Chicken Curry

chicken curry with mango chutney

Are you ready to learn how to make a really good curry? I don’t mean curry like your mother used to make from her ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazine….I mean a really good, authentic-tasting Indian curry. First of all, your spices are really important – at the very least, make sure they are FRESH.  Don’t be pulling that curry powder out of your cupboard that’s been there since 1993. Go out and get some fresh spices, it’s so worth it. The two spices you need (which are actually spice mixtures) are curry powder and garam masala.

Follow the steps in the recipe, taking your time especially when cooking your onions.  Remember a good curry is layered with flavour, and to achieve that, it takes time, and also care and love while you are cooking it.  After you make this a few times, you’ll become quite pro at it, and you’ll never make beef stew again.  So get your ingredients organized, and give it a whirl. You will love it.  And buy a jar of mango chutney and some fresh coriander at the grocery store while you’re at it.

A word about Garam Masala:  This is a common Indian spice mixture and is available at you grocery store in the spice department – I believe McCormack’s now distributes it. However, if you have access to a Southeast Asian market, go in and find some whole garam masala. (see picture). Dry roasting some garam masala in a pan and then grinding it in your coffee grinder will kick up your curry to another level of awesomeness. While you are there, buy a decent curry powder like Lalah’s or Bolst’s. Ask the grocer for a mild or hot curry depending what you like.  Be warned that the hot curry powder is much hotter than you think it will be.

Whole Garam Masala. (dry roast in pan until fragrant)

grind garam masala in coffee grinder and store in an airtight container.

Chicken Curry

serves 6 as a main course

1/4 cup butter (or ghee – clarified butter)

2 large onions, diced

2 tsp salt

4 cloves garlic minced

1  2 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced

1 tbsp garam masala

2.5 tbsp curry powder

1.5 cups water

1 (14oz) can coconut milk (or 35% cream)

6 chicken breasts, cut up into large chunks, or 10 boneless, skinless thighs

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt butter (or ghee) over medium heat. Add onions and salt  and cook, stirring occasionally until  onions are cooked down and quite brown and carmelized.  (about 20 minutes). Take your time.

Add ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle your curry powder and garam masala over your onion mixture. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your water, stir, and let the entire thing simmer on low, and reduce to a paste-like consistency. (about 15 minutes)

Remove curry paste from pan to a bowl. Add a knob of butter to the pan (or ghee).  Salt and pepper your chicken pieces and add to the pan over medium-high heat to brown.  Once chicken is browned, add the curry paste back into the pan as well as the coconut milk. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and let chicken cook. (longer if using thighs, so they will tenderize). (approx 20-40 mins) At this point, you can also add in some vegetables to cook. I like to use 1/2 a head of cauliflower cut up and some red pepper. The cauliflower works really well with this dish.

Serve over rice or quinoa.  Serve alongside mango chutney and fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

cook onions until reduced and browned (about 20 minutes)

add garlic and ginger, continue to cook for 2-3 minutes

add curry powder and garam masala, cook another 2 minutes

add water to mixture, stir and simmer until paste-like consistency is achieved

remove curry paste and place in bowl while browning chicken

brown chicken in same pan (don't clean it), then add curry paste back into pan

add coconut milk. Simmer for additional 20-40 minutes

Serve with rice and mango chutney. Oh my. Yum.