How to: Quickie Meal – Mexican Street Corn Quesadillas

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Quesadillas were one of the first meals I learned how to cook. They were simple, required minimal ingredients and they involved cheese. SOLD.

Over the years I’ve filled them with lots of wacky stuff, but guys, I promise you, this is a contender for top all-time quesadilla fillings.

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Mexican street corn and Mexican food in general, have been kind of a big deal in my neck of the woods over the last few years.  As the name suggests, it’s a popular Mexican street snack consisting of a cob of corn slathered in all sorts of delicious stuff (chill, lime, mayo, CHEESE).  It’s also known as elote.

I’ve made my own version of elote at home a number of times and although it’s always a huge hit, it’s doesn’t work well as a complete meal.

Until now!

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These come together in less than 20 minutes ALL IN (prep and cooking included). Meaning, perfect for a last minute weeknight meal.

Quick jalapeño tip: I find they can be all over the place when it comes to heat level.  Slice yours in half and have a tiny sample of it before you throw the whole thing in. You may only need half. Or a quarter. Depending on how much of a heat pansy you are.

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We’re pretty much done with fresh local corn for the year, which just means the high-quality frozen fresh stuff will soon be on sale! Bonus, this recipes is on the table even quicker without having to cut the kernels off a fresh cob.

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This is my tried and true quesadilla technique.  You can certainly cover the entire thing with filling and top with a second tortilla.  Good luck with the flip, though!  I’m guessing you’ll be finding corn in the dark recesses of your kitchen for the next new months.

Also, a note on the cheese.  Use whatever tickles your fancy. I like harvarti ’cause it’s creamy and melty.  Mozz, gouda, monterey jack or even cheddar would work.

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I served mine alongside sour cream and smokey tomatillo salsa.  A perfect combo.

If you want to serve them with something green and leafy for a more complete meal, go right ahead you health nut!

Erin

Mexican Street Corn Quesadillas

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 Small onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup harvarti cheese
  • 4 12 inch flour tortillas

Directions

1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add chili powder and cook for additional 30 seconds. Add corn and salt and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2. Transfer corn mixture into a bowl, add mayonnaise and lime juice and stir until combined.
3. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with a tsp of oil. Lay one tortilla in pan and top ½ with ¼ of corn mixture, and sprinkle with ¼ of grated cheese. Fold tortilla over to make a half-moon and press down on top half with a spatula.
4. Cook quesadilla for about 2 minutes, carefully flip it over and cook an additional 2 minutes until tortilla is browned and cheese is melted. Transfer to a cooling rack then cut into 3 pieces when slightly cooled. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas.
5. Serve plain or with salsa and/or sour cream, if desired.

How to: Make your own – Cauliflower and Cheese Tots

 

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The harvest is rolling in now, folks.  It’s the very best time of year to get fresh everything and I’m feeling overwhelmed with choice!

I picked up 2 huge heads of cauliflower last week for $4. Because $4!

I made 4 cauliflower and cheese quiches (2 went straight into the freezer) and these little golden nuggets.IMG_6854

My little kiddo, who thank lordie is an excellent eater, is full-on in to the finger foods now.  It took quite a while for her to warm up to actually feeding herself rather than playing the part of greek goodess and being hand fed by servants (read: mum & dad), but she’s got it now!

So, I made tot-sized tots! How perf.

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I love that this is such a straightforward, simple recipe.  Minimal ingredients, minimal prep, minimal fuss.  While I haven’t experimented much with the recipe yet, I’m certain you could make changes to suit your needs.  Panko rather than cornmeal, onion or garlic power rather than mustard or even a cheese switcheroo like parmesan or asiago.

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Leaving the mixture in the refrigerator before forming your tots will give the cornmeal a bit of time to absorb a little moisture and will help them stick together. If you’re in a rush you can get away with leaving this step out, but you’ll have to treat the tots delicately until they’re cooked.

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In they go!

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Out they come, light, crispy and cheesy.

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Eat them while warm from the oven.  If for some crazy reason you have leftovers, they’re best re-heated in the oven.  Dipping sauce you ask? I’d go with sriracha mayo, but that’s just me.

Enjoy!

Erin

Cauliflower Cheddar Tots

Serves 2 dozen-ish tots
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Website Katya Wulfers - Yummy Mummy Club

Ingredients

  • 1 Small head of cauliflower (or about ½ a large one, cut into florets)
  • 1 cup finely grated old cheddar cheese
  • 1 Large egg
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard powder

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until very fine. You should have approximately 3 cups of finely chopped cauliflower.
2. Add cauliflower and remaining ingredients to a large bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined. Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
3. Using heaping tablespoon form cylindrical tots with the mixture and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 16 minutes, flipping each tot over halfway through.
Serve warm.

How to: Make your own – Vibrant Green Veggie Patties

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Thank goodness for partners.  Dara has really stepped up her game over the last couple months and has picked up my blog slack. It’s been a crazy but wonderful time. My hubby was off on paternity leave for 6 weeks and we took a family road trip to the Maritimes (so. much. seafood.). That, and my babe turned one and I’m back to work!

Truthfully, it’s nice to be back to work and back to a routine.  I really loved so much of time off with my daughter but I was ready to get back to the world and ready to let her learn about it. Daycare gave me my fair share of anxiety, but she transitioned really smoothly and seems happy there already.  Best baby ever.

This recipe comes courtesy of my friend Shauna, a fellow RD, who runs a private practice and regularly offers really unique cooking demonstration classes. I’ll actually be assisting her in an upcoming class about spiralizing! How on trend is that?!

She sent this recipe on over to me for a test and I’ve made them THREE times.

Flavour. Bombs.

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The recipe is straightforward and very easy to put together, so don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list. If you’ve never cooked with millet before, it’s a snap. It has a really mild flavour and when pan fried, gives the patties a perfectly crunchy coating.

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Shauna’s original recipe calls for ½ cup of cilantro.  I’m a no-go on cilantro so I subbed with parsley.

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All the aromatics (herbs & zest) give these patties a bright fresh flavour.  Sub in your faves!

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Refrigerating the mixture is important because it allows the panko, millet and baking powder to absorb some of the liquid and makes forming the patties much easier, so don’t skip this step. The patties are pretty delicate until they start to cook through, so pack them together as tightly as possible.

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Trust me, you will just swoon over the crispy factor of the crust.

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Erin

Vibrant Green Veggie Patties

Serves 4-5
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Website Friend and fellow RD Shauna Lindzon

Ingredients

  • 1 Small bunch broccoli (chopped into medium florets)
  • 1 Small onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 cup cooked millet (see instructions in recipe note)
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)

Note

To cook millet: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.  Add ½ cup of millet, return to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat (keep covered) for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork. Feel free to snack on remaining millet with a little soy sauce!

Directions

1. In a food processor, combine broccoli florets, onion and garlic and pulse until pieces are roughly the size of rice grains.
2. Transfer broccoli mixture to a large bowl and add remainder of ingredients. Mix until combined and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from refrigerator and form into small patties (pack them tightly), about 2 Tbsp each. Mixture should make 15-18 patties.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp of canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry each patty for 4-5 minutes each side, until a golden crust forms and patty is cooked through. Fry the second batch with the remaining canola oil.
5. Serve along side a creamy lemony dip (¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup greek yogurt, juice of ½ a lemon and s&p to taste)

How to: Make your own – Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots

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Tater tots.

Blog post, complete.

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Kidding. Sorta.

I don’t have much to say to convince you to try these because closeted or not, you love tater tots.  We all do. They’re a universal crowd pleaser that may even lead to world peace one day.  Pizza and tater tots.  They can really bring people together.

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How simple are these, though? 5 ingredient simple! As always in these circumstances, I recommend using the best quality ingredients possible.  Real-deal parmesan, OK?

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Adding the sweet potatoes to the chives and parmesan when they are still slightly warm will melt the cheese a little in the process and help these bind together really well.

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The melted butter in the panko is essential.  It will help these babies crisp up to perfection in a nice hot oven. Oven-baking means these are hella healthy, too.

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Now, pop some tots.

Erin

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Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Serves Makes 2 dozen tots
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes (peeled)
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Note

For a spicy mayo dipping sauce, combine ¼ cup each of mayonnaise and greek yogurt and add 1 tsp of sriracha chili sauce (or more if you like it muy caliente)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
With a sharp knife, poke 6-8 holes all over each sweet potato. Microwave potatoes on high for 5-6 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Allow them to cool just enough to touch, and grate with the large side of a box grater. They should not be completely soft all the way through; the centre of the potatoes should be slightly undercooked.
2. In a medium bowl, combine grated sweet potatoes, chives, parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp of salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper. In a separate small bowl, combine panko and melted butter.
3. Form each tot using approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of the grated potato mixture. Pack them very tightly. They will be about 1" wide and 1.5" long. Roll each tot into the panko mixture until well coated and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each tot over halfway through.
Serve immediately with spicy mayonnaise or sauce of choice.

How to: Healthy Side – Simple Brussels Sprout Slaw

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Simple is best, don’t you think?

When it comes to food and using quality ingredients, I am definitely on team KISS.

Recently, friends had me over for dinner (word up Amy and Gord!) and as we chatted and sipped on wine, I watched Gord casually prepare a simple side salad with finely chopped brussels sprouts.  It was perfectly elegant for a dinner party, yet simple enough for a week nighter.

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I’ve made a few more involved versions of this salad in the weeks since, but I’m always drawn back to the most basic version, using high quality ingredients.

Yup, really good extra virgin olive oil (or canola!) costs a little more, as does parmesan reggiano.  Pine nuts aren’t cheap either. But! These are what make a humble bowl of wee little heads of cabbage taste… *kissing the tip of my thumb and index finger*.

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The brussels sprout chopping is the only real work here, which took about 5 minutes for the ½ pound.

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Pine nuts are sweet and creamy and really delicious when toasted, and a couple of tablespoon won’t break the bank, either.  I’ve used toasted sliced almonds and walnuts for this salad, too.  Both really great alternatives.

As for a parmesan substitute, you could try pecorino romano or grana padano. Something hard, salty and sharp is the ticket.

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You’ll also notice the recipe calls for cold pressed canola oil. While the canola oil you may know and love is very very mild in flavour, a cold pressed canola oil can have an incredible range of flavours (as can olive oil) depending on where the seed is grown. I’ve done a couple of canola oil tastings and I’ve tasted everything from butter to grass to sesame seed to asparagus in the oils grown across Manitoba alone!

You may be able to find cold pressed canola oil at a specialty food shop near you, but you can also use a good quality olive oil in its place.

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Enjoy,

Erin

Brussels Sprout Slaw

Serves 3-4 as a side
Prep time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½lb brussels sprouts (about 12 medium, trimmed of any spotted leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1½ tablespoon cold pressed canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

Note

This salad is best served within a couple of hours.  You can prep all of the ingredients up to a day in advance and toss with oil and lemon juice just before serving.  Leftovers can be spruced up with an additional splash of oil and lemon juice just before serving.

Directions

1. Cut each brussels sprout in half. While holding on to the stem end, slice crosswise very thinly.
2. In a dry frying pan, toast pine nuts over medium heat, stirring or tossing occasionally until lightly browned.
3. In a medium bowl toss brussels sprouts, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, oil, lemon and s&p until well combined. Serve within a couple of hours for best results.