Tomato and Chickpea Salad

This is a pretty basic fresh summer salad, variations of which can be found in quite a few places, but it’s so yummy and healthy that I decided it needs a place on my blog!

Ingredients
1. 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2. 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (bite sized)
3. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5. 1 tbsp olive oil (or more if you’d like)
6. 1 tsp dried oregano
7. black pepper, to taste

Toss all your ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to let the flavours meld.

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-Happy Cooking!

Curried Carrot and Broccoli Soup

This soup is absolutely delicious, and almost 100% vegetables, so it’s crazy healthy too! It whips up in 40 minutes, and makes about three large bowls full.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or more to your liking)
  • 5 medium carrots, chopped (1lb)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped (1lb)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • yogurt, for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in the curry powder. Add the chopped carrots and broccoli and stir. Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Let it cool slightly, then transfer to a blender to puree the soup and transfer it back to the pot. Serve with a little plain yogurt, preferably Greek, for some creaminess and a bit of protein. 

-Happy Cooking!

Quick, Creamy Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

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On days when I work, dinner is one of two things: 1) lentil stew I made early in the day and refrigerated or 2) anything I can find for me, and then something impromptu for my parents. I’m usually starving after of three hours with six-year-olds in a pool, teaching swimming lessons, and if I haven’t made anything I’m liable to eat breakfast food, like cereal or banana and peanut butter toast the second I walk in the door, which I did today, and then promptly realized that I had no clue what I was going to make for my dad. After rooting through the fridge on a hunt for ingredients I decided on what I wanted to make: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.

I’d never made one before, and I’m in a let’s not use a recipe, let’s make this up as we go along phase, so I searched around the internet for about five minutes until I had enough general knowledge, and then set to work making my own recipe however I felt like making it. It was super easy, and turned out really well. My dad loved it! It’s enough to feed two people, or one really hungry dad, and can be very easily doubled, tripled, or how-ever-many-led, to accommodate for more mouths to feed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (small-ish) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 F, and spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Cut chicken into small cubes and season with salt and pepper, and fry in a pan with a little oil or nonstick spray until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, stir flour and broth together in a small sauce pan until well mixed, and then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once bubbles form, continue whisking until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and then remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheddar and mix until melted.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the broccoli florets and chicken, and toss to coat. Spread the mixture into the casserole dish, and evenly sprinkle on the bread crumbs and the parmesan.

Bake, covered in foil, in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until bubbling, then remove the foil and turn on the broiler in your oven, and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes to brown the top. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then serve!

–Happy Cooking!

Tiny Batch of Blondies

I wanted to treat myself and I’m not really a chocolate dessert person, so I decided a blondie was the way to go! I nabbed this from Dessert For Two, and was super happy with the results! I just stuck them in the oven at the same time as the tofu I was making for dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • big pinch of salt
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a small loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the edges so you can lift the blondies out.

Mix up the butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then add the yolk, vanilla, and salt, and mix together. Add the flour and baking powder and stir until combined.

Spread the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are satisfactorily golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for five minutes before lifting the blondies out and cutting them into however many bars you want. I went for six fairly small ones. They’re going to be perfectly chewy on the inside, and so wonderfully crispy on the edges. You will not be disappointed!

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-Happy Cooking!

Curried Tofu!

Note the exclamation point! This recipe is insanely delicious. I have the house to myself this weekend and I though I’d start it off right by cooking myself a nice dinner. Curried tofu, some veggies, and a blondie for dessert! It was magical. I really felt treated.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package firm tofu, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • drizzle of olive oil

Drain tofu. Wrap in layers of paper towel and press between two plates, the top one with a heavy pan or bowl of water on top, and leave it for 30 minutes. Cut into small cubes.

Combine all of the other ingredients in a small bowl (except the olive oil) and whisk together, and then place the tofu cubes in a dish that just fits them in one layer, then pour the marinade evenly over the cubes. Drizzle a little olive oil over them. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake the tofu, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove your tofu from the oven and serve immediately, over rice or with veggies.

It was SO ridiculously good. I highly recommend! It was perfect for treating myself to dinner.

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-Happy Cooking!

Easy, Cheesy Burgers

These are super easy to throw together, and my omnivorous family thinks they taste great! My take on homemade beef burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup soft cheese of your choice (cheddar, pepper jack…)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg

Grease your grill, and preheat it to high heat.

Mix all of yor ingredients in a bowl until well combined, I recommend using your hands for this no matter how gross, and then form into 4 or 5 patties. Tip for getting them not to shrink is to form them into disks, then make an indent in the center, raising the edges. No shrinkage!

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Grill for 5 minutes a side once the grill is hot, and serve however you like them!

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-Happy Cooking!

 

Boozy Pina Colada Cupcakes

Lazy Saturday afternoons are 100% made for relaxing, doing chocolate sea-salt body scrubs, and making Boozy Pina Colada Cupcakes! I whipped these babies up for a house warming party tonight, and while I won’t eat them (alcohol ain’t my thing), I feel fancy bringing them!

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They’re super simple!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 18.25 oz box yellow cake mix
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, not drained

Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2-5 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 3 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

Let’s begin! Combine the cake mix and pineapple in a mixing bowl, and portion out into 24 cupcakes. Bake at 350 F for 18-25 minutes. They will be super moist, so be careful when you’re doing a toothpick test, or bits of pineapple may come out in. If they do, put them back and they’ll stick there fine 😛

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese and butter with a stand mixer or hand mixer, then whip in the rum. Add the confectioners sugar in cups until you get the desired taste and consistency. Once well combined, beat it on high until it’s light and fluffy.

You can pipe it on, or you can just spoon it on, whatever floats your boat! I piped it on for a fancier look. Now add the coconut! I mixed mine in a baggie with the food colouring for a bit of depth to the presentation, but you don’t need to. Sprinkle it on the cupcakes! Refrigerate them until it’s time to serve, and you’re golden! You don’t have to put the rum in if you’re serving to kids or people who don’t do alcohol, but it adds a fun spin!

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-Happy Cooking!