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Asian Steak Tacos

20 Jan

So, two posts in one week? knock me over with a feather….Never thought I’d see the day! I am really trying to step away from my iPhone more (another of my new years resolutions), which has caused me to haul out my big camera more often. It’s doing wonders for blogging, because I find it’s the photos that hold me back more than anything.

On a side note, while stepping away from my iPhone and taking real pictures has been happening, stepping away from my iPhone in general has not. I am painful with the stupid thing, reading blogs, reading the newspaper (honestly, like 15 times a day. Ya know, in case anything major happens i’ts super important that little old stay-at-home-mom knows as SOON AS IT HAPPENS!), watching other people’s interesting lives on instagram, and obsessively checking the weather. I really need to be stopped. I only mention this because I didn’t want to give off the wrong impression that I am succeeding with this stay away from my phone thing, really I am only winning on the camera front and failing miserably on all others.

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So, back to what I actually came here for, Asian Steak Tacos. These are a flavour explosion and are so so so easy. They are great for a casual stand-around-your-kitchen-island kind of dinner with friends . We use them a lot for entertaining,  but also a casual weeknight meal when it’s just Mark and I.

Asian Steak Tacos (recipe by Gordon Ramsey)

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 sirloin steaks

10 to 12 flour or corn tortillas

Steak Marinade:

2 tbsp white miso paste

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

Wasabi Mayo:

3 tbsp mayo

1 tsp wasabi paste

Cabbage Salad:

1/2 head of Napa/Chinese Cabbage, finely sliced like a coleslaw

1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp dried chili flakes

Directions:

Assemble the steak marinade in a shallow dish that will fit both steaks. DO NOT PUT THE STEAKS IN THE MARINADE (see below ** for more details).

Heat an indoor grill pan (or any old pan) to medium heat (you can also cook your steak on the BBQ if you’d like. Since it’s polar-vortex-freezing outside I am currently rocking the indoor grill pan). Rub your steaks with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for a few minutes each side until medium rare. Mark usually covers the pan with a lid so that it acts more like a BBQ and traps the heat to speed things up. Since you will be slicing these, you can also cut a cheater cut in the middle to check their doneness (not a real word) while cooking.

Once cooked to medium rare (or whatever your heart desires), remove from pan and place into the marinade, making sure to spoon marinade over the top of the steak as well. Let rest while you assemble the cabbage and the mayo (but really you can leave these to rest a couple of days in the fridge if you wanted – just serve room temperature when you eventually serve it). If using right away just let them marinade on the counter.

In a bowl combine the cabbage, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and chili flakes. Toss.

In a small bowl combine the mayo and wasabi paste.

Toast (or just heat up) your tortillas. I toast mine over the open flame of my gas cook top. A few minutes per side on an element with the flame at medium-high does the trick. I just use tongs to turn them over. This gives them a nice charred flavour. I suspect you could also do this on the BBQ. If you don’t have a gas cook top, you can warm your tortillas by wrapping them in a damp towel and microwaving for 30 to 45 seconds, or by heating your oven to 250 degrees, wrapping them in a damp towel placed in an oven-proof dish with a tight fitting lid, and baking for 20 minutes.

Once the tortillas are heated transfer them to a tortilla warmer (ya right I own one of those!) or a covered plate to keep them nice and warm.

Remove the layer of fat along the side of each steak and thinly slice the steaks onto a platter.

To serve, let each person make their own taco by layering wasabi mayo, steak and cabbage salad.

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**The part of this recipe that I found hard to get used to at first is the cook first, marinade second. Weird right? It works. The flavour is great, and this marinade doesn’t really stand up to cooking, so its flavour would be completely lost if done the other way around. Trust the process people!

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Also, for the moms out there. My little guy isn’t quite there yet with lettuce, cabbage etc. I don’t know if it’s not enough teeth, or what, but he struggles. So I adapt this meal for him and he just gets the marinated sliced steak with some roasted sweet potatoes and veggies.  It’s a bit more work, but it means I am not cooking him a whole separate meal, just adding some sides.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

16 Jan

After a very long break, I have added blogging to my new years resolutions. Hopefully it’s the swift kick-in-the-ass that I need to get back to sharing recipes! I am not typically one of those successful stick-to-your-resolutions types. Maybe 2014 is my year to change?? ugh, lets hope so.

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So, black bean burgers. Something I have been trying to do lately with my meal planning is be more budget friendly. I am at home full time with my son right now, with another one on the way, so smart budgeting is pretty top of my list these days. Being at home not only slashes my food budget, but also gives me a bit more time to put into smart meal planning and grocery shopping to help drive the grocery bill down. So hopefully a new theme around here is cheaper meals that are still interesting and are far from yet another plate of spaghetti  day in and day out. A way I can help bring the weekly food cost down is a more vegetarian friendly menu. So, full circle, black bean burgers!

Black Bean Burgers (adapted from skinnytaste.com)

serves 6

Ingredients:

1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 eggs

1 1/2 tbsp cumin

1 to 2 tsp of your favourite hot sauce (optional)

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

2 19oz tins of black beans (if you tins are smaller reduce the amount of oats), rinsed

4 whole wheat pitas

1 avocado, sliced, for serving

Chipotle Mayo:

1 cup mayo

4 chipotles in adobo sauce (you can find these canned in the Mexican section of your food store)

Directions:

Place the red pepper, green onion, garlic, cilantro, egg, cumin ,hot sauce and oats in a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped. Place the black beans in the food processor and pulse until they are incorporated. You should have some mixed in and some partially chopped. You do not want a completely smooth paste, it will be too wet. That being said, if your mixture ends up too wet, add in more oats a tbsp at a time until the consistency is something you can easily form into patties with your hands.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to help the mixture firm up and to allow the flavours to combine.

Rinse your food processor clean and place the mayo and chipotles in adobo in and pulse until smooth.

Heat a frying pan to medium high heat, put a glug of olive oil in the pan and form 6 patties with the burger mixture, place the patties in the pan and cook approximately 5 minutes per side, until a nice golden brown crust forms.

Serve in a pita, topped with chipotle mayo and avocado.

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Don’t let me hold you back with my avocado suggestion though, feel free to go nuts with your toppings, tomato would be delicious as well, or really anything!

My one year old will eat these (minus the spicy mayo) and my husband also loves them (for a meatless burger that is saying something).

Remember my spaghetti comment above? Ya, well eat my words already, I have something spaghetti coming at you very soon I hope….

Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

17 Jun

I normally am all about cooking from scratch. I rarely use any prepared products. Today this isn’t true. Three words. Frank Red Hot. I am obsessed. It has ingredients I can’t pronounce. I don’t care.

I am going to redeem myself by trying to convince you this is a healthy alternative to going out for chicken wings. These aren’t fried. These aren’t chicken wings.

They will satisfy any chicken wing craving!

Buffalo Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 cup of Franks Red Hot, I like the extra hot kind, but original is good too if you don’t want an extra kick.

2 tbsp olive oil

Combine everything in a large bowl, make sure the chicken is entirely coated in Franks Red Hot. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour up to 2 hours.

BBQ on medium high heat until cooked through.

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

1/2 cup of sour cream (or yogurt if you’re watching your waist)

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

a dash of Franks Red Hot

5 grinds of black pepper

Combine everything in a bowl and mix. Allow at least 1/2 an hour in the fridge so that the flavours are able to “get acquainted”. This way it will taste nice and blue cheesy.

I actually crave these. I can eat about 6 in one sitting.

All photo credit goes to my sister Annie and her friend Kim. They also get credit for an awesome evening in a kitchen in cabbagetown.

Next time you crave chicken wings give these a shot at home. You won’t be disappointed.

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

22 Apr

Sorry for the long absence folks. It’s been quite the week around here. We didn’t even do a menu plan or a grocery store visit this week – basically around here that means the apocalypse is coming…..But I’m back!

I think I am developing a twitch from having not set foot in a food store for so long. Food shopping is one of my favourite activities. I know, I am sick.

So this is soup. Not one of those sodium and chemical canned ones. Real soup.

Making your own soup is so much easier than you would think. This one is a classic. As a little kid tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches were a favourite. As an adult, well not much has changed, in many areas, but we’re just talking lunch today. I’m not going to tell you how to make grilled cheese b/c really, come on people, you’re just fine on your own with that one. But homemade tomato soup. Well I’ll help you out there. This is delicious!

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 Roma tomatoes, halved

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can of plum tomatoes

2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup of heavy cream

5 grinds of black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the halved Roma tomatoes with olive oil. Spread on a greased baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and saute the onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, broth and black pepper. Once it has come to a boil, cut back to medium low heat and simmer for 1/2 an hour.

Get out your immersion hand blender and puree (I just do it right there in the pot).

Stir in the basil and cream and heat through.

I highly recommending some grilled cheese for dipping on the side!!!! And in the spirit of this classic grade 1 lunch, you should probably also invite your best friend over to your house for lunch to eat with you. Followed of course by an episode of “You Can’t Do That on Television.” Please don’t judge me.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers and Purple Cabbage Slaw with Green Onion Dressing

11 Apr

Long title. Sorry.Worth it.

To celebrate the first weekend of glorious spring weather we took the blog on a little trip down the road. We went to a friends rooftop patio for some delicious bbq and even better company. Bring on the vitamin D! SUNSHINE! Oh how I’ve missed you!

Back to the food. This was an easy pre-prep, bring over meal. All we had to do was throw things on the bbq!

This is a bit of a twist on cheese on top. It gets all melty on the inside. Heaven.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs of ground beef (whichever kind your heart desires)

1 egg

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp horseradish

3 dashes of worcestershire sauce (I hope you don’t have to read this recipe aloud to anyone. Saying this word = impossible!)

15 grinds of black pepper

6 thumb sized cubes of blue cheese (if blue cheese isn’t your thing, just pick a different type of cheese!)

Combine all the ingredients (except the blue cheese and buns) in a bowl, mix only until combined. Do not over work the meat. Divide into 6 balls. Take one ball and remove 1/4 of it. Form the remaining 3/4’s into a patty and make a thumb indent. Place the blue cheese into the dent and cover with the 1/4 of beef you set aside. form into a patty. Repeat for the remaining 5 burgers.

Heat your BBQ to medium high heat. Oil the grill slightly with a high heat oil (I won’t tell you what I do b/c apparently it’s dangerous. Rub it on quickly with either an oil pad made specifically for bbq’s or a cloth with cooking oil on it). Place the burgers on the grill, and do not at any point push them on the top with your flipper. Not only are you releasing juices and drying out your burger, but you’re also going to squish all your delicious cheese out. Travesty!

Now I am no bbq genius. I actually always sucker someone else at this point. Choose your own adventure on the cooking time – and when in doubt google.I know, I know, who is this girl with a cooking blog who stops the instructions at the actual cooking part. Lame.

Toast your buns and top with any and all things delicious. If you’re me, that means hold the ketchup.

Purple Cabbage Slaw with Green Onion Dressing (adapted from Bobby Flay)

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 head of purple cabbage, cored, quartered and then finely sliced

1/2 a large red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro

Dressing:

1 bunch green onion, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 tbsp mayonnaise

Mix the cabbage, onion and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a food processor combine all the dressing ingredients. Process for approximately 1 minute, so that everything is combined thoroughly.

Top the cabbage with the dressing. I like to let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving so the cabbage softens slightly (don’t worry, it’s still super crunchy!).

These two go together perfectly! When you bite into the burger you get a delicious hit of blue cheese.

This is best paired with a few beers! Go forth and BBQ my friends! Tis the season!

Griz Salad

5 Apr

Are you ready to have your taste buds blown? This is a bizarre combination of ingredients, piled on top of one another. The result. Unreal! (it is also completely stolen….)

In undergrad at Queen’s there was this restaurant called the Grizzly Grill. They had giant cutlery and an alright menu. every time I went I got the same thing. The Griz Salad.I would go A LOT!

Since I no longer live anywhere near Queen’s, and driving there once a week is really not an option (or so I’m told) this salad had to be created in my own kitchen.

Are you ready?

Griz Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

one package of whole crimini mushrooms, cut in half

2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1/8th wedges

Olive Oil

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 bags of spinach (not the baby kind – the grown-up kind – nice and leafy)

1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed in a garlic press

Sour cream

Feta cheese (4 pieces, about 1 inch cubes – or more if you’d like – whatever)

Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees.

First saute the mushrooms over medium heat until soft. Add a few tbsp’s of the balsamic vinegar and cook for one more minute. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, cover in the rest of the balsamic vinegar and transfer to the fridge.

Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet (so they have room to breath) and place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes (checking every 5 – you don’t want them to burn). Flip and roast for another 10 minutes. (they should have a nice golden brown crust).

While the sweet potatoes are roasting remove the stems from the spinach. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil. Add the spinach and garlic. Toss until the spinach is cooked (do not over cook the spinach – remove it from the heat as soon as it is wilted).

Now comes the fun part…..on a plate put 1/4 of the spinach in the middle. Then take 4 sweet potatoes wedges and place them in a star formation leading to the middle of the spinach mound (thank god I have photos, I am doing a terrible job explaining this!). Then take 1/4 of the mushrooms and scatter around the edge of the plate. On top of the spinach place a large spoonful of sour cream and top with a piece of feta crumbled over the top.

This salad is also great with chicken. Just slice a boneless skinless breast into strips and put on the plate the same way as the sweet potato.

Every person I make this recipe for becomes completely obsessed with it, makes it non-stop for days, weeks, months on end, and then announces that they are so sick of it that they never want to eat it again. Go figure. Good luck with that!

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