Posts Tagged ‘side’

Baked (Not Fried)

May 20, 2010

Thank you Mother Nature! Warm sunshine and blue skies are finally upon us. I live for the summer and can never get enough heat, dresses, sunglasses, ceasars and patios. What else could a girl want?

Summer weather also means bikinis, tank tops, shorts and lighter meals. Taste, however, does not need to be sacrificed! By choosing to bake things instead of frying, you can really control the amount of fat that you put into your meals.

I’m a huge fan of Asian food and more specifically, dumplings. I personally believe that the wonton wrapper is one of the greatest inventions in the world. The super basic mix of flour and water has infinite possibilities and I find that pretty amazing. Believe it or not, my grandma was the first to introduce me to these delicious wrappers by making a Latvian-Asian fusion dumpling stuffed with ground meet and onions, toped with mustard and vinegar (sounds weird I know, but a true comfort food for me). Now, I think I go through at least two of the double packages of wontons every month.

One of my all-time favourite snacks is a baked wonton wrapper. Simply brush a baking sheet with a bit of oil, lay the wontons on the baking sheet in a single layer, brush a little more oil on top of them and sprinkle with salt (I like sea salt for this). Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden and crispy and dip them in your favourite sauce. It really does not get any easier than that.

The recipe below uses the same concept, but adds a few extra steps. These mini eggrolls are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and veggies and makes the perfect appetizer or side dish.

Filling:

  • 1 small package ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork, whatever!)
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp soya Sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tbsp hot chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 double package wonton wrappers

Start by chopping all your ingredients so that you have everything prepped and ready to go. Brown the meat in a frying pan and drain off any excess fat. Add all the chopped veggies (be sure NOT to add the bean sprouts) and sauté on medium high until they soften. Add all the sauces and sauté for another couple of minutes until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit. Stir in the bean sprouts right at the last minute and turn off the heat.

Now it’s assembly time!

I like to work on a cutting board and be sure to keep a cup of water beside you to seal all the wonton edges after you stuff them with the mixture.

Place a tbsp of the mixture on a wonton, dap the edges with water and fold them in. For different folding techniques, just search eggrolls in YouTube. It’s really easy and you can just use whatever method works for you (even create your own!).

Similar to the wonton chips, just brush a baking sheet with a bit of oil, place the finished eggrolls in a single layer and bake in a 425 degree oven until golden brown. A definitely crowd pleaser!  

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Steak Dinner

January 25, 2010

I spend a big part of my day talking with writers, journalists and bloggers and not until today, can I honestly understand what it feels like trying to keep up with every story, every idea and every post. Yikes!

Tonight I made homemade chicken pot pie…with a twist, but I’ll have to add this post to my “to do” file. I promise to get it up soon though, because the recipe turned out really well and I’m excited to share it.

The truth is, I’m not ready to let go of the weekend yet.

This past weekend, we indulged. From homemade pizza to a Friday night steak dinner, we definitely ate very well. After a busy week, I was completely content with hibernating, yogaing and eating food that is a little extra special. Even if it meant eating on our “not so special” couch.

On Friday night I made it to the market just before it closed and decided to pick up a couple Striploin steaks. I typically only make steak in the summer on the bbq, but thought I’d give it a shot on the stove top. I paired the steak with some mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.

Sadly, my steak ended up more on the medium well side, instead of the medium rare side, but it was still great!

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tbsp light cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cube the potatoes. Place them in a pot with cold water and a pinch of salt and boil them until fork tender. Melt the butter and cream cheese and mix the two together with the milk. Mash the potatoes using a potato masher and add the melted butter, cream cheese and milk. Keep mashing until smooth, but be careful not to over mash because you don’t want the potatoes to get too starchy. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the green onion right before serving.

Mixed Vegetables

  • chopped vegetables of your choice (I used peppers and mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a sauté pan heat the oil on medium high and add the garlic and ginger. Add the vegetables, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and sauté until tender.

Steak

In a large sauté pan, heat a bit of oil on high. Add the steak and brown for about 3 minutes on each side (depending on how you like your steak). A few minutes before serving add some bbq sauce of your choice (optional) to the hot pan and glaze the steak by flipping it over a few times in the sauce.

Who needs The Keg?

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

December 6, 2009

I love Saturdays.

I’m not the biggest fan of sleeping in, but sometimes it’s completely necessary. We woke up at 2:00 (yes, as in 2:00 p.m. *gasp*), but I had been up for almost 24 hours straight and in travel recovery. There’s nothing better than being home and curled up in your own bed. Add a little homemade comfort food to that equation and life is REALLY good.

After peeling ourselves out of the house, we did a few errands and picked up some fresh groceries. Whole chickens were on sale for $2.99 at Sobeys, so I knew that a roasted chicken dinner, with all of the fixings was exactly what the doctor had ordered.

I like to roast my chicken (or turkey) on a bed of carrots, celery and onions. The veggies act like a roasting pan and elevate the meat to help make the chicken extra crisp.  It also infuses a ton of flavour into the meat. Here’s what it looks like before going into the oven:

I couldn`t wait for Christmas to have stuffing again so I whipped up a quick and easy whole grain stuffing with sage that my mom taught me when I was probably 10 years old.

To add to this delicious chicken combo, I made some classic roasted potatoes and a cucumber and tomato salad with dill. Dinner was heaven.

Sage Stuffing

  • 6 slices of whole grain bread cubed
  • Chopped celery, onion and carrots (about ½ cup each)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp dried, ground sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, melt the butter and sauté the veggies for about 3 minutes to soften them a bit. Add the bread, sage, salt and pepper and toss together. That`s it, you`re done. It`s delicious I promise!

Stuff the chicken.

I like to season my chicken with a little melted butter, paprika, salt, pepper and dried garlic. I roasted my chicken in a 375 degree oven for about an hour and a half. I`m not very good at timing things, I just like to keep an eye on them until it looks ready. Maybe a meat thermometer would be a good investment.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

  • Quarter as many potatoes as you like
  • Drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and a little melted butter (helps with browning)
  • Sprinkle on salt, pepper, rosemary, paprika and a bit of onion soup mix (sounds weird, but does add a great flavour)
  • Spread, in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the oven with the chicken
  • Cook for 1 hour

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Dill

  • Chop up some cucumber, tomato and dill
  • Whisk 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of honey for sweetness
  • Toss everything together (you may not need to use all of the dressing, but it keeps in the fridge for a few days)

Dinner is served!