July 30, 2010

Who cares if it's the summer? Let's make a cinnamon loaded apple crisp!

Apples and cinnamon is a classic combination. Usually it appears once the leaves change colour and the weather is crisp and cool. Imagine sitting by the window, watching the grey clouds swirl around while enjoying a warm apple pie or apple crisp with a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water and crave something with apples and cinnamon.  It's probably my second favourite dessert out there, after anything chocolatey that is!  Sadly, I don't eat apple pies and crisps that often because even though they are loaded with apples, they aren't completely healthy. 

To my delight, Gina posted a wonderful recipe for a healthier apple crisp dessert.  I wanted to try it badly and fortunately we had friends coming over so I had the perfect opportunity to make it! It was a hit!

Cinnamon Apple Crisp

5 medium apples, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the apples, cinnamon, lemon juice and agave nectar until well coated.  Toss this mixture with corn starch and put into a lightly greased glass pie plate.  For the topping, combine the rolled oats, WW flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Spread the topping evenly over the pie plate, making sure that all the apples are covered.  Bake, uncovered, until the topping is a golden brown colour and the fruit inside is tender. Depending on your oven, this could be 30-40 minutes. 

Serve right away or leave to cool on the kitchen counter. When you are ready to enjoy it, warm it up in the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

July 24, 2010

Chicken Fajita Desi Style

I'm one of those people who struggles with what to make for dinner. I spend a lot of time staring into the fridge and freezer, asking myself "What am I going to make today?"  Sometimes the question is answered pretty quickly, other times I draw a blank.  When I draw a blank, I either decide NOT to make anything and eat leftovers, or I throw random things into the pan, hoping that it will come together in the end. This recipe is a result of this random combination of ingredients.  Thank God it tasted good!

Chicken Fajita Desi Style

1 lb boneless chicken thighs, fat removed and cubed
3-4 sprigs of parsley, washed and chopped
1- 2 tbsp fajita spice blend
Stop-light peppers (1 green, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper), sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2  tsp ground corriander
red chili powder (or flakes) to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Take the first 5 ingredients and combine. Let the mixture marinate for an hour or two in the fridge.

Add the olive oil to a fry pan and add the chicken mixture.  Add tomatoes and garlic and stir frequently.  When the chicken is starting to brown on the outside, add the ground corriander, salt and red chili powder.  Continue to stir-fry until chicken is almost cooked through. Cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Make sure you do not dry out the chicken- you want the tomatoe juices as your sauce.

Serve with plain white Basmati rice or with a pita.

July 13, 2010

Garlicky Chicken and Noodles in a Peanut Sauce

This is another recipe that I sort of threw together after looking at what I had in the cupboards and fridge.  At first I thought I would just mix the chicken and noodles together, but at the last minute I felt I needed to create a sauce, so that's where the peanut butter came into the mix.

Garlicky Chicken and Noodles in a Peanut Sauce

1lb of boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces (if you don't want to clean the fat off the boneless thighs, use chicken breast)
5 cloves of garlic, diced
chili flakes
1/2 cup of unsweetened peanut butter
1/2 pound of spaghetti noodles
3tsp olive oil

Mix the chicken pieces with diced garlic and let marinate for 30 minutes.  Heat up olive oil in a fry pan and add chicken pieces and begin to stir fry until chicken is brown. Add chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  When chicken is just about cooked, add peanut butter and lower heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally.

In the meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to box instructions.  Drain noodles and add to fry pan. Stir until noodles are combined with chicken and peanut sauce. 

July 7, 2010

Roasted Soda-Can Chicken

Yes, you read the title correctly- Roasted Soda-Can Chicken.  Hard to believe? Trust me...you need a soda can for this recipe!  I came across this recipe after a friend of mine posted it up on her Facebook page.  I couldn't believe my eyes- there was a pop can sticking out of her roasted chicken!  After asking a few questions, she gave me the link to the recipe from where she drew her inspiration. Instead of using the rub mixture the recipe suggested, my friend 'J' used Lahori Charga Masala spices. If you don't know what that is, it's a prepared blend of Indian spices that is readily available in Indian food stores across North America.  If you can't find it, create a blend of the following ground spices: red chili, coriander, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, dried garlic powder, dried ginger powder, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, cardamoms, mace and cubebs.  By taking inspiration from both sources, I came up with this:

Roasted Soda-Can Chicken

1 whole chicken, skin off
1 packet of Lahori Charga Masala spice blend
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
Juice of 2 lemons, put lemon halves aside
1 12oz Sprite can

1 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
Remove the giblets and rinse chicken inside and out with water.

Mix together the packet of spices, garlic, ginger and lemon juice to create the marinade. Rub the marinade over the entire chicken, including the cavity. Make sure to get it into all the crevices of the chicken. Push the neck of the chicken to the side and stuff the opening with lemon halves. Stuff the cavity with the remaining lemon halves. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Or, if you want to make it later on in the week, you can stick it into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze it until you want to make it.
After the chicken has marinated, place the open soda can on a heat-proof glass dish. Remove the lemons from the cavity and set the chicken upright on the can, inserting it into the cavity of the chicken.

Mix the vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper and place around the chicken. Place lemon halves on top of the vegetables.
Roast the chicken in the preheated oven for 2 hours,  Remove the chicken from the oven, discard the soda can, and cover chicken with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

A big fan of scones

I have become a big fan of scones after making this recipe. The neat thing about a scone recipe is that you can mix in a variety of ingredients- herbs, spices or cheese make savory scones that can be served with a bowl of soup or a batch of sweet scones filled with chocolate chips or fruit. Gina's recipe used strawberries, sugar and a mix of all purpose and wholewheat flours.  I, on the other hand, used frozen blueberries, agave nectar and only wholewheat flour.  Also, because I didn't have butter milk, I "made" some butter milk by mixing some white vinegar into 2% milk.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones

1 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 (half stick) cup frozen butter
3/4 cups 2% milk mixed with 2 tsp of white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Make sure to mix the salt and baking powder in evenly.
Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour. Mix in flour with hands or a pastry cutter.

In another bowl, mix milk, agave nectar and vanilla. Using a fork, mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until JUST combined. Do not overwork the dough or you will have very tough scones.  Gently fold in blueberries
Using a spoon, drop equal amounts of dough onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Do not pat down scones.  Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the scones become a golden brown colour. Remove and cool before eating- that is if you can resist such a delightful treat!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I love eating chips and salsa. The combination of the crispy chips and the tangy salsa make for a great snack, or even a light meal.  The salsa that I usually use is the red or green tomato salsa from the snack aisle in the grocery store. So when I came across this recipe on the back of a can, I thought I would try it out and see what it would taste like. 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 15oz can of black beans
1 12oz can of whole kernal corn
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small onion (red or white), diced
juice from 1 lemon
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 tsp ground cumin powder

Drain and rinse beans and corn.
Combine in a bowl with tomatoes, onion and jalapeno peppers.
Mix lemon juice and cumin powder together and pour over other ingredients.  Mix gently.
Serve with chips.