Hey everyone! Long time! I’ve been writing a lot on my other blog though. Just haven’t really been cooking. I’m going to get back into the swing of things though and hopefully I’ll be cooking more.
Anyways, today I made a really delicious (and easy) taco salad for dinner. I was inspired by a taco salad that Sean’s step-mother makes, but she wasn’t available to give us the recipe so we winged it.
- 1 tsp of EVOO.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
- 1 small onion, diced.
- 1 can of aduki beans, rinsed.
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed.
- 1 package of taco seasoning.
- 1 tsp of chipotle chili powder.
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.
- 2 tbsp of salsa.
- 1 1/2 romaine heart lettuce, rinsed and ripped coarsely.
- 1 jalopeno, chopped thinly.
- 1 orange pepper, chopped.
- green onion, chopped (as much as you’d like).
- shredded cheddar cheese (any amount you want).
- nacho chips (as much as you’d like).
- Heat pan on medium-low heat. Once your pan is heated, add a tsp of olive oil.
- Saute onions until they are almost translucent. Add your garlic to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Incorporate the taco seasoning to the onion and garlic mixture.
- Add your beans (aduki and black beans). Mash slightly and mix well.
- Add the chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and salsa to the mixture. Mix well. Keep in pan until heated through.
- While your bean mixture is cooking, assemble your salad! Layer nacho chips, lettuce, pepper, jalopenos, and cheese.
- Add bean mixture on top of the salad base. Then layer again.
- Serve with a side of salsa and greek yogurt (or sour cream).
It feels kind of silly to write out a recipe for taco salad, but the bean mixture is more what needs directions. This was really tasty. The aduki beans added a nice contrast to the black beans. I sliced the jalopenos with gloves so that I wouldn’t get the oils on my fingers. I’ve heard too many horror stories and I just didn’t want to risk it! This recipe made enough for two large salads (each salad had two layers) and there’s still left overs. I’m excited for a delicious lunch tomorrow!
Play around with the seasonings. I used the chipotle chili powder because it’s spicier than regular chili powder. I also used hot salsa to add some heat. If you like it spicier you could add more or use more jalopenos. If you like it milder just play it safe with the spices (i.e. 1/4 tsp) and adjust as necessary. I hope you enjoy this!
My friend recently provided me a link for Chocolate Covered Katie. I had read her blog in the past, but completely forgot about her blog! It was a nice reminder.
I flipped through her recipes this morning and decided to make some breakfast for Sean and me. He’s off to work today, so I wanted to make him a filling healthy breakfast. We’re trying hard right now to stop buying food at work. I also packed him a lunch of Rajmah curry. He may not enjoy kidney beans as much as I do, but my cat Freya certainly does! After I rinse kidney beans I let them drain in a colander, and she always steals some. It’s super cute but also kind of frustrating because you can’t turn your back to her.
Anyways! My dad bought me a giant box of quaker oats from Costco so they need to be used up. Thankfully they’re just plain oats rather than pre-packaged flavoured ones so the sky is the limit for flavours!
I settled on making chocolate oatmeal for us.
From Chocolate Covered Katie
- 80g of cooked oats
- 1 1/2 cups of almond and coconut milk (SO GOOD)
- 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1.5 tsp of vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 an oz of bitter sweet chocolate, shaved
- Add oats, milk, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and banana to a pot. Cook on medium heat, uncovered.
- After 5-7 minutes, stir in the chocolate.
I doubled her original recipe (this recipe makes 2 servings). When I first started out I felt really confused about whether the oats were supposed to be pre-cooked or not. I ended up putting everything except the banana and the chocolate in the pot and cooked the oats (i.e. bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes). Then I added the banana and chocolate and cooked for another 5 minutes. It ended up working out in the end! Just took a lot longer than I expected.
This recipe was really good! I decided to add chocolate to the pot because I find cocoa powder doesn’t have an intense chocolate flavour and that was what I was looking for this morning. Putting the banana into the oats was really delicious too because they smelled like they were almost caramelized. They also added a lot of volume to the oats which was great as well.
After eating this I felt comfortably full (6-7 on the full scale). Hopefully Sean will stay pretty full so he doesn’t have to buy any food at work today! That’s always a true test.
I think for tomorrow morning I’ll precook some oats for tonight and make some more of her oatmeal options! She has so many, and I’m excited to try them.
We’re back home in Canada! Living in Europe was a really amazing experience, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go. I enjoyed the travel experiences immensely, but I also enjoyed how Sean and I made dinner almost every night. That was really nice, and it’s a great way to bond if you cook together.
Now that we’re back we’re retrying some of the foods we missed while in Europe (nachos, Starbucks, etc). However, I don’t feel the need to really be eating this things as much as we were before we left. So that’s great!
I’m working on trying to do a meal plan each week, but this week I kind of failed at it. I just started my new job on Monday, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment especially after not working for 4 months. Thursday night was deemed Taco Night, so we made tacos! I think it was the only night this week I legit cooked what the meal plan dictated, haha.
I got this recipe from AllRecipes.com. It was pretty tasty, I didn’t change much.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 package of taco seasoning
- 1 cup of green lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup of vegetarian chicken broth
- 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- salsa (add at the end, to taste)
- Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, approx 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, taco seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 minute.
- Add the broth, bring pot to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer with a cover for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
- Remove the cover and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Slightly mash the lentils, then add salsa to taste.
- Serve with your favourite fixin’s!
These were really good. My brother’s favourite food is tacos so I was glad that he enjoyed these. They get the brother stamp of approval. I find lentils are a really great substitute for ground beef, especially with the right herbs and spices.
We served our tacos with a mix of hard shell and soft shell tacos. For toppings we used shredded romaine lettuce, salsa, cheddar cheese (I missed cheddar cheese while in Europe!!!), plain greek yogurt, and pickles. I know pickles is kind of a weird topping, but we’ve always eaten tacos this way. They’re so good with tacos, I don’t know why.
My favourite thing to do after eating hard shell tacos is to take the left overs and make a “taco salad”. It’s a good way to clean up a messy plate.
Tonight for dinner we ended up making forty clove garlic, chickpeas, and broccoli! It was so good. It’s not actually forty cloves of garlic, but it is 10! So it’s pretty garlicky which obviously means it’s super delicious. We ended up slyly using our landlady’s oven again since she’s not here for the weekend. Hooray! And this time we weren’t caught.
Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli via Appetite for Reduction
- 1 lb of broccoli (we used one head of broccoli)
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 yellow pepper, diced (not a part of the original recipe but we didn’t have a 1 lb of broccoli!)
- 10 cloves of garlic, diced (recipe calls to smash it but people said the garlic was still undercooked while the broccoli was cooked)
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp of oregano
- 1 tsp lemon zest (didn’t have this)
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Chop broccoli, pepper, and garlic. Add to a 9 x 13″ pan along with the garlic. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and oregano.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
- Add the vegetable broth and bake for another 15 minutes or until some of the broccoli is browned and garlic is tender.
We just ate this, and it was really good! I found that the liquid wasn’t all absorbed but I think it may be because we didn’t use the right amount of broccoli. However, it was still pretty good. The garlic was really yummy and the broccoli was good partially crispy! Next time I make it I will definitely use the 1 lb of broccoli.
As I get closer to New Years I’ve been reflecting on being a vegetarian. I really enjoy it and I’m happy I made this decision. I feel healthier but also lighter because I’m not eating huge quantities of meat. I do have cravings every now and then but I realize that it’s more that I miss the social interactions i.e. chicken wings at the pub with some beer. I’ve found a lot of great meals and am being more adventurous with my meals which is also great. It forces you to be creative which I think is great as someone who likes to cook.
I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan as my New Years 2013 resolution but I’m not really sure. I typically eat mostly vegan but I do enjoy cheese and milk still. I have a lot of thinking to do! I do cook mostly vegan though, so I feel good regardless.
Anyways! That’s my little stance on being a vegetarian. I’m enjoying it and I think I will continue to keep it up!
It was really cold today so we were craving some comfort food. Originally we planned on making burritos but ended up going with good ol’ mac and cheese. It wasn’t a complicated recipe but it did take some time. It was also kind of awkward because we don’t have an oven in our kitchen so we used our landlady’s kitchen. She did say it was ok for us to use her kitchen when she wasn’t here, so we did… And then she walked in half way through, haha. I think she ended up not really minding (I hope so at least!). Worst case scenario we move home on December 20th.
Macaroni and Cheese via AllRecipes
- 8 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 cups of cheddar cheese (we didn’t have cheddar so we used a cheese blend)
- 1/2 cup of flaked parmesan cheese
- 3 cups of milk
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2 1/2 tbsp of flour
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- pinch of garlic powder
- pinch of onion powder
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch of paprika
- pinch of salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1/2 cups of bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cook elbow macaroni according to directions.
- Meanwhile, heat butter on medium low heat until melted. Add the flour slowly to make a roux. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly.
- Add the cheeses and stir constantly on low heat until cheese is melted.
- In a greased saucepan, pour the sauce over the cooked pasta.
- In a separate sauce pan, melt the 2 tbsp of butter. Then add the bread crumbs and toast.
- Top the macaroni and cheese with the breadcrumbs, along with a sprinkling of paprika.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve.
This was a pretty good dish, a bit bland. We did add more spices than the original recipe called for but I think cheese/milk are going to be pretty bland anyways. Considering that’s the bulk of the meal it makes sense. The calorie count is extremely high for this but we also had smaller servings than the recipe said it made… We also ate this with some broccoli so we didn’t feel completely awful! It’s comfort food, not health food haha. I would recommend this dish but I would also recommend doctoring it to fit your palate because it’ll be pretty bland otherwise. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure meal!
Once the temperatures in Maastricht dropped, we ended up making this soup. We got the recipe from Appetite for Reduction which is a really great vegan cookbook. It focuses on making really healthy, low fat/low cal food that’s filling and satisfying. This recipe definitely hit the bill, and had a really nice flavour profile. The rice was silky and the lentils were really nice in texture.
Arabian Rice & Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium sized onion, diced small
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- pinch of freshly ground pepper and salt
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
- 1 can of green lentils, drained and rinsed (supposed to use red lentils but we didn’t have them!)
- 1/2 cup basamti rice
- 1 tsp lemon zest (we didn’t have a zester!)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Saute onions over medium heat in a pot until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add the garlic, pepper, and salt and saute for another minute. Add the spices, stir the onion and garlic are evenly coated for approximately 15 seconds.
- Add the rice, lentils, carrots, zest, and broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the soup begins to boil, stir and reduce heat so soup simmers. Cover again and cook for approximately 40 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to taste, add lemon juice. Serve!
This recipe was low maintenance (yay), delicious (double yay), and very filling! We really enjoyed it. The only issue we had was that the rice continued to absorb the broth and whatnot after we put it in the fridge for leftovers… So this may not be a great soup to make if you want a lot of left overs. However, it still tasted pretty good.
We decided to make Veganomicon’s Chickpea Cutlets for dinner. Unfortunately we ran into a few hitches with the recipe, mainly lack of ingredients! However we soldiered through and produced some delicious looking cutlets. It was funny because our roommate came in while frying the cutlets and asked if we were making pork! So they must be convincing lol.
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra-Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (recipe links to PPK recipe)
- 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 a potato, skinned
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (we used tamari sauce)
- 1/4 cup EVOO (we used 1/6)
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
- 1/2 tbsp of rosemary
- Mash chickpeas with garlic until smooth but not pureed.
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead. Strings of gluten should form. Shape the cutlets.
- Preheat a skillet to medium-heat, add oil and cook the cutlets for about 6-7 minutes per side (until browned).
This cutlets were good! It’s been a while since I made them so I’m trying to remember the details, but we served them with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. It felt like a good hearty meal. We weren’t able to get some of the ingredients here (i.e. vital wheat gluten) but we made do and they still turned out really tasty. I bet these would be good with some gravy as well.