How to: Recipe Makeover – Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetComing up with new, exciting ideas for the blog can be challenging.  My fave is to use the seasons as my guide, because fresh seasonal food is always inspirational.

But y’know…March in Canada is just real bitch for seasonal produce.

Hurry uuuup rhubarb!

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After a good powwow with the gals in my office, I’ve got a slew of new ideas for upcoming posts. Thanks ladies!  This one is both a recipe makeover – a healthier version of restaurant style twice baked potatoes – and a rip on one of our older recipes (Butternut squash enchiladas).

IMG_3366Sweet potatoes are so good and so good for you.  Also, eat them skins y’all.  They not only contain great healthy stuff (vitamins, mineral, fibre – you know the deal) – they add great texture.

IMG_3374I realize this is a twice ‘baked’ potato recipe and I’ve cheated by microwaving the potatoes for step 1.  It’s just so much faster.  30 minutes instead of 90. How can one argue?

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Now let’s talk chipotle peppers in adobo for just one minute.  They are HOT. The can contains about 8-10 of them, but please trust me when I say you only need one, with perhaps a teaspoon or so of the sauce, max.  Do not get rid of the leftovers!  Place them all on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, leaving a space between each pepper.  Freeze em’ right on the baking sheet.  Once frozen place the individual frozen peppers in a freezer bag for later use.  I probably go through a can a year and have never had a freezer burn problem.

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They add a super awesome spicy and smokey flavour.  If you can’t find them, you can substitute with a teaspoon of mild chili powder and finely minced jalapeño.

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You can add all of the black beans in to the potato mixture if you like.  I left some aside to act as a garnish.  If you’re serving it to people for dinner, it will give them a sense of what’s inside.

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The green onions and lime wedge really add a pop of fresh flavour so don’t leave them out! If you’re a cilantro lover, I’m sure it would be a good replacement.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetStuffed stuff is awesome.

Erin

Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (washed and scrubbed well)
  • ½ cup sour cream (more for garnish if desired)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup canned black beans
  • 50g creamy feta cheese (goat cheese, mozzarella or Monterey jack would be great, too.)
  • 3 green onions (sliced)
  • lime wedges

Note

These would also be delicious topped with a few slices of avocado.

Directions

1. Using a small sharp knife or a fork, poke each sweet potato 3-4 times on either side toward the middle of the potato.
2. Microwave potatoes on high power. About 5 minutes for 1 potato, adding 2-3 minutes for each additional potato. For 4 potatoes, microwave for 12 - 15 minutes turning over halfway through. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut a ¼" slice of the 'top' of each potato (on one of the sides you have poked). Scoop out the flesh of the potatoes. You will only use the flesh of 3 of the 4 potatoes to re-stuff them. Keep the remaining flesh for a different use or to snack on while you prep.
4. Combine potato flesh, sour cream, chipotle pepper and salt in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender. You can also mash everything together with a fork; just be sure to mash the chipotle pepper into a paste before mixing it all together. Add 1 cup black beans.
5. Re-stuff potato skins. Top with feta cheese. Bake for 12 minutes, with an additional 1-2 minutes under the broiler until cheese begins to brown.
6. Garnish with green onion, remaining black bean and lime wedges.

 

 

How To: Slow Cooker – Lentil and Carrot Curry Stew

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As of this past Friday, it is officially spring!

Can we finally say good bye to that cold winter weather?? I am so done with the heavy winter jacket, boots, hats, and gloves. Bring on the capri pants, tank tops, and spring jackets.

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Now winter isn’t all doom and gloom – there is one redeeming quality to this season that I do enjoy. The slow cooker.

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The slow cooker has not only become my weeknight dinner saviour during my busy work weeks, but it’s perfect for cooking up a comforting stew for the cold winter nights. But fear not, the bright flavours in this lentil curry stew are also perfect for welcoming in the warm spring weather.

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Phew! No need to throw away the slow cooker, our Monday dinner hero, just because the weather is FINALLY starting to get above the freezing mark. And what a relief because no one should miss out on this delicious vegetarian lentil curry stew!

Dara

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Slowcooker Lentil and Carrot Curry Stew

Serves 6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Slender Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 4 carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1-2 handfuls kale (chopped)
  • Greek yogurt and cilantro (to garnish)

Note

While this hearty vegetarian curry is great on it's own, you could serve it with some bread or over some rice or quinoa to make it more of a meal. Chopped swish chard or spinach could be substituted for the kale.

Directions

1. Place all ingredients except for kale into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
2. After about 8-10 hours, turn slow cooker to warm and mix kale into stew. Place lid back on until kale has wilted.
3. Serve topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and some cilantro.

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How to: Make your own – Indian Saag with Tofu

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I just realized…this post can totally do double duty as a St. Patrick’s Day post.

Because green!

I was a skeptic the first time I tried saag (with paneer, a fresh indian cheese) many moons ago.  It’s not super, um, visually appealing let’s say.  But the flavour.  The flavour, guys!

I can’t even remember where I tried it first, but I feel like I’ve been let down by many bona fide indian restaurants in the years since that first taste.

IMG_3065This recipe first came to me at a book club meeting.  We read a book with an indian theme  so we went ahead and planned an indian themed potluck.  My friend Joanne brought the original slow cooked version of the recipe and it was flipping delicious.

Guys, for real, this one’s a triple threat.

It’s quick, it’s healthy and it’s jam packed with flavour.

I’ve made it a few times now and have tweaked the recipe to work as a 30 minutes stovetop meal.

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I’ve used my microplane to grate the garlic and ginger, but mincing both would be fine and dandy.

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Baking the tofu is a step that you could skip if needed.  I find pre baking with a little salt and pepper gives it a bit more flavour and improves the texture, giving it a ‘meatier’ feel.  If you can find indian paneer, use it.  It’s awesome.  I’ve also made this with haloumi cheese that I cubed and panfried first. Also damn yummy.

The following is a little step-by-step.

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Serve with your choice of brown or white rice and if you’re really feeling the indian vibe, make a batch of our homemade naan to go along with.

Erin

Indian Saag with Tofu

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website Adapted from the Slender Kitchen's Healthy Saag Paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 packet extra firm tofu (drained and cut in to 1" cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced or grated)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger (minced or grated)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 600g frozen chopped spinach
  • 150g fresh spinach (washed)

Note

Using the fresh spinach toward the end of cooking gives the dish a more vibrant green colour.  If prepping this dish in advance, hold off on adding the fresh spinach and blending until you're almost ready to serve.

Directions

1. Pre-bake your tofu to give it a firmer, chewier texture, pre-heat oven to 400F. Toss tofu cubes with a pinch of salt and pepper and bake on a lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.
2. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for about a minute. Add garam masala, coriander, cumin and cayenne and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
3. Add salt tomato sauce, coconut milk, and frozen spinach. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the spinach is thawed.
4. Add fresh spinach, cover and cook for about 2 minutes until spinach is wilted.
5. Using an immersion or countertop blender, blend until spinach leaves are broken up into small pieces.
6. Add tofu and serve with rice and naan.

How To: Healthy Breakfast – Lemon Blueberry and Oat Breakfast Cookies

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Mondays are rough!

Mondays after daylight savings – even rougher.

What can we do to make this better? Have cookies for breakfast.

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It definitely was not easy to get out of bed this morning. Granted, it’s not easy any morning but something about losing that one hour of sleep really hits me hard. Knowing I had these blueberry and lemon breakfast cookies waiting for me made today just bearable.

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These cookies use ground oats as the flour base, making them not only dairy and egg free, but gluten free as well. Don’t get me wrong, we are lovers of all things gluten and dairy filled on this blog, but sometimes you are cooking for people who can’t tolerate these food items. Aren’t these allergy sufferers still deserving of delicious food? Yes, yes they are. Allergy friendly breakfast cookies to the rescue!

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Freezable, delectable, and make a head-able. Make Monday mornings better with these sweet and delicious breakfast cookies.

Dara

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Lemon Blueberry and Oat Breakfast Cookies

Serves 14 cookies
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable
Website Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

  • 3-3/4 cups old fashioned oats (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 very ripe banana (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 6 oz (1/2 a pint) blueberries

Note

These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, and egg free - perfect for a healthy allergy-friendly breakfast or snack. You could substitute the blueberries for blackberries or raspberries.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper. Add 1-3/4 cups oats to a food processor and process for a couple minutes or until the texture of flour.
2. Add oat flour, remaining oats, baking soda, salt, and ground flaxseed to a large bowl and mix to combine. Add applesauce, banana, honey, coconut oil, lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Fold in blueberries and let batter sit for about 10 minutes to thicken.
3. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto prepared cookie sheet and then wet your hand and press down the cookies to flatten. Don't worry if they are close together, they won't spread.
4. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm and starting to brown. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze individually and reheat in the microwave to thaw.

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How To: Quickie Meal – Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn Relish

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I have been chomping at the bit waiting to share this recipe with you. It was so good, I made it twice in one week. That may also have been due to the fact that I needed to finish  a pacakge of fresh corn tortillas before they went bad, but that’s besides the point.

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As we were scarffing down taco after taco, my husband proclaimed this was his new favourite taco recipe. And that is coming from a guy who had previously professed his undying love for the kung pao version.

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Some prepared grocery store items come in handy here – pre-shredded cabbage, canned corn, and jarred salsa saves time and helps this taco recipe come together lickity-split. Can I just say that shredding cabbage is one of my least favourite things? I adore bags of pre shredded and pre chopped greens. No shame here!

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So there you have it – a quick, delicious and family friendly fish taco meal – my little one thoroughly enjoyed her decontructed taco plate. Actually, we all may have stollen bites of her quesadilla triangles (note to self: make quesadillas ASAP!).

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There’s a reason you won’t see me ordering fish tacos at my local Mexican joint anymore –  why pay a premium when you can make a pretty darn good version at home?

Dara

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Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn Relish

Serves 2-4
Meal type Main Dish
From magazine Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large onion (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup corn (frozen or from a can)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayo
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • shredded cabbage or pre-packaged colseslaw mix
  • 4-6 soft corn tortillas

Fish

  • 2 tilapia fillets (cut into small pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 lime

Note

These fish tacos come together so fast they will be your new weeknight favourite! Cod or haddock could be substituted for the tilapia. If you can't find corn tortillas, you could substitute flour ones but I much prefer the flavour of corn so try your best to seak them out!

Directions

1. Place avocado and cilantro in a large bowl and toss with the juice from 1/2 a lime. Set aside.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add corn, onion, and red pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to brown and get soft. Place in the bowl with avocado and toss to combine.
3. In the same skillet, heat corn tortillas until they start to blister and warm through, turning once. Remove from pan and cover with a towel to keep them warm.
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4. Combine spices and toss with tilapia. Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and add tilapia pieces. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, turning occasionaly. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime and cover and cook for another minute until the tilapia pieces flake apart with a fork.
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5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine Greek yogurt, mayo, and salsa. Now you are ready to assemble your tacos!
6. Place tilapia pieces in corn tortillas and top with corn relish, shredded cabbage, and a large dollop of yogurt/salsa mixture. Dig in!

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