Friday, January 14, 2011

Taco Soup

Well I finally made my first pot of Taco Soup.  My mum has been raving about this soup for years and that she occasionally makes big pots of this herself.  I think she and my dad enjoy this on chilly winter evenings.  I think she freezes alot as well.

I found this Taco Soup recipe on the Our Best Bites website.  The recipe was incredibly simple and I was amazed at how much it made!  I'm not sure if I made more than what was called for in the recipe though as the measurements of the tinned items were slightly different here.  We had two huge bowls ourselves for supper and I have another 5 good sized portions (Chris had seconds) tucked away in the freezer for another time!!
 Yum...sour cream.
Even better with the addition of cheese and tortilla chips!!

A great recipe and definitely worth another try.  I see from the Our Best Bites website that they're coming out with their own cookbook next month.  I have been following this blog for several months now so I know this book will be filled with delicious ideas!  Well worth the purchase I believe!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pico de Gallo

I've just finished making home-made Pico de Gallo and it is chilling in the fridge now.

I have a pot of taco soup currently simmering on the stove and thought this would be a great accompaniment...along with some yummy cheese and a dollop of sour cream!  It was super simple also and well worth all the time chopping.  It was very fresh tasting and would be an awesome snack with some tortilla chips.

Pico de Gallo
6 plum tomatoes
2 small white onions
2-3 jalapeno peppers (I think I added 3, but then I love it spicy!)
Large handful of cilantro (think mine totalled about 1/2 cup)
1 lime

Chop the first 4 ingredients finely and toss into your dish.  Squeeze juice of one lime over top and mix all together. Chill for a little while before enjoying.  Although I couldn't resist trying it out myself.
More on my taco soup later.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cranberry sauce

Look what I made at Christmas!
The jars of cranberry sauce available here in the grocery stores are so tiny!  And then I remembered a conversation with my colleague Derek in Montreal and how at Thanksgiving he'd made cranberry sauce from scratch.  He insisted it was incredibly easy.  Seeing how I have so much time on my hands at the moment...time to make a batch of cranberry sauce!

It was indeed extremely easy!  I threw the bag of cranberries in a pan with about 1 cup of orange juice and 3/4 cup sugar (maybe a little less..can't remember).  I simmered them for a little while and then the cranberries began to pop and explode.  I continued simmering till about half or so of the cranberries had popped and then removed the pan from the heat.  As the sauce cools it just thickens up on it's own.

I have to admit, I put way a bit too much sugar in my sauce.  We tried it when it cooled and it was like a shot of sugar to the brain!  I then put it away in the fridge to rest for two days until Christmas dinner and luckily the flavours blended and was the perfect accompaniment to the 3 bird roast we had for our meal.

We even had some sauce left over so I used some of this along with some goats cheese with remaining wonton skins I had and made more baked wontons filled with the cranberry sauce and cheese.  Great combination!  I wish I'd thought to take some photos of those!

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

MMmmmmmm, lasagna!
This one looked and tasted delicious!  I'm not sure how fattening it was, but it tasted incredibly rich!  I've never been one for vegetarian dishes, but OMG!  You'd never even miss the meat in this dish because it is so flavourful on it's own!

I found this recipe through another blog called Oven Love.  She posted this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna back in October and I immediately starred it to make in the future.  Again, this was a dish I would have never made for just myself, but now that I'm living in England and I can enjoy cooking for Chris....time to make this fabulous looking dish!
I also took the time to make some home-made bread to go along with this dish.  I was at Sainsbury's recently and found a special type of flour in their bread aisle.
Being Canadian, how could I not buy this!!??
The loaf didn't rise as much as I had hoped for and it was fairly dense.  I think I'd used the wrong type of yeast...anyhow, it was still awesome!  There is nothing like freshly baked bread!
I just realized that this was the second loaf we made with this flour.  The first didn't do well, so we went and bought more.  This time I put Chris to work with the 10 minutes of kneading required (bum elbow and unfortunately kneading makes it worse).  He did a great job and this particular loaf was great!  Much better than the one I'd attempted to make a few days earlier.

I really did love this lasagna though!  I can't even say how yummy it was.  I do have another squash in the fridge at the moment, but I'm thinking I may attempt making butternut squash risotto instead.  Sounds delish too!

Sausage, Basil & Mustard Pasta

This Sausage, Basil & Mustard Pasta recipe was another that I had starred in my google reader ages ago.   As you can see it came from another blog I follow called The Creative Pot. It looked like an odd combination, but oh so delicious.
 I'm really not a big fan of dijon and course grain mustards (or pasta either really), but this dish was great! Yum, I loved it! And I think Chris did too!  I'd definitely recommend this one as well!
Deniz...make this one!  You'll love it!

Not so vegetarian chili

At the beginning of last month, one of the fantastic blogs that I follow, Joy the Baker, posted a recipe for Spicy Vegetarian Chili. There is nothing like a wonderfully spicy chili on a cold winter evening.  This one was no exception.  The only changes I made were adding about a half pound of ground turkey to the mix and I did use vegetable stock instead of the suggested beer.  I had made the chicken lemongrass potstickers a couple of days earlier and still had the remaining ground turkey in the fridge waiting to be used why not?!  Chili's just one of the dishes that you can totally throw additional things in.

So I started by browning all the ground turkey in a little bit of vegetable oil and then continued with the recipe as written.

Oh and let me say this about my chili powder! "$%£^$%^%&*((*^!!!!  It was soooo freaking hot!  When Chris and I had been out grocery shopping the week before, we stopped at the spice/herb aisle and I spotted this "extra hot" chili powder.  I'd never seen that before.  Chris mentioned that when he last used the one he had at home, it really wasn't very hot at all.  Enough said, extra hot it is then.  As you can see from the recipe, it calls for 2 heaping Tbsps of the chili powder.  Woweeee!
Even with the heat, this recipe was awesome!  The flavours were wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed it!  It smelled so good cooking and looked so good once we dished it out that I almost completely forgot to take a photo of it.  I think my bowl was half empty when I quickly ran for my camera (yes, still getting hang of blogging).
We had this the following night as well and the flavours had really improved.  The next day I also found time to make some basic scones in which I added some chopped green chile pepper.  They turned out a little dense, but were a perfect accompaniment to the spicy chili.
I will definitely be making this dish again.  It was fantastic and it made a HUGE amount!!  Perfect for popping in the freezer for another night.