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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: March 2012

…little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey…  Ever wondered what she was eating?  It’s basically just cottage cheese!  If you’re on the fence or not quite a fan of cottage cheese, I highly recommend that you do NOT ever google “cottage cheese” – you’ll totally barf.  This breakfast bowl is how I got Todd to eat both cottage cheese and steel cut oats!  Years ago I started making a similar breakfast bowl that was in one of the Jillian Michael’s workout books, but I’ve changed it so many times, can’t remember what was in the original recipe and I always adapt it to what I’ve got in the fridge too!

This is a great way to not only get some steel cut oats into your morning routine without having to cook them forever!  Also this is a good way for people to get turned on to cottage cheese; as long as they don’t google how it’s made.

Little Miss Muffet’s Breakfast Bowl
Ingredients:
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup of your favourite yogurt
2 tbsp steel cut oats (not cooked!)
1 tbsp agave nectar or liquid honey
1 tbsp flax seed
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning!

You can also add fresh or frozen frut, shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruit – whatever your favourite flavours are!!

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Today was a great day because I received another shipment (12 cases!!) of my favourite snack ever – CheeCha Puffs!!! Because I’m a “CheeCha Champion” I’ve been receiving samples to share with friends, family and even strangers, since December!

CheeCha Puffs are great!  Some of the amazing benefits of CheeCha Puffs:

  • Gluten-free options!
  • MSG-free options!
  • They are low fat!
  • They’re LOCAL: they’re made right here in Alberta!
  • Taste amazing!
  • Tons of flavours to choose from!

Go visit their website to learn more about this wonderful snack alternative!!  CheeCha is sold throughout Canada and I want to share the love!!  Here’s the contest: By pressing “Like” on the Red Deer Foodie Facebook page and also leaving me a little message on the wall, I will enter you to win 6 vouchers for FREE FULL SIZED PACKAGES OF CHEECHA!  I know, it’s pretty amazing – contest is open until midnight (MST) on April 4, 2012 and I’ll announce the winner on April 5, 2012 – I’ll get you to send me your mailing address only if you’re a winner!  This contest is open to Canadians only.

Snacks CheeCha Potato Puffs
Triple Cheese
Lays Chips
Regular
Baked
Cheetos
Chips Ahoy
Thinsations
Doritos
Nacho Cheese
Bits and Bites
Party Mix
Calories 90 100 100 100 100 100
Fat 2.9g 7.0g 4.0g 3.0g 5.0g 3.0g
Portion 28g 28g 28g 28g 28g 28g

Last night I was trying to explain the health benefits of quinoa to the seven year old… while he was marginally okay with eating quinoa in a main course, I’m not going to lie – it took a lot of soy sauce to get him there!  So I told him that I also had to ease into liking quinoa, and how bout I bake it into something for him instead – like in something like a breakfast cookie…  Cookies for breakfast??  Yep, that got his attention!! 

So I combined a couple of recipes that I’ve already busted out (Healthy Craisin Quinoa Cookies and Banana Chip Breakfast Cookies) and came up something new!  These suckers are not only packed with quinoa, but they have super moist and sweet bananas, whole wheat flour, bran, tons of oats and I decided to chuck a bunch of chocolate in there too!  These turned out really moist and almost cake-like in texture.  Super nom.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Quinoa Cookies
Ingredients:
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup butter
1 cup golden yellow sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Method:
Get the quinoa going: in a small saucepan, combine the water and quinoa and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat, put a lid on it and simmer for 10 minutes.  Keep the lid on, and keep that pot on the burner for another 6 minutes, then remove from heat, take off the lid and fluff with a fork.  Set aside to cool and be ready for the cookies!

Preheat the oven to 350degrees.  Line cookies sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter and the sugar.  Using an electric mixer, beat in the eggs and vanilla, then mix in the bananas.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dried ingredients.  Slowly add the wet ingredients and blend well with a wooden spoon.  Add the quinoa and continue mixing.

Add the chocolate chips and you’re ready to start making your cookies! Using two teaspoons, drop the batter onto the parchment – you can flatten slightly, but you don’t really need to b/c these cookies fluff up and rise, but still spread out a bit.

Bake one sheet at a time in the centre of the oven, for about 13 minutes.  Keep a watch on that first sheet because all of the sugar in the bananas could mean quick burnt cookies if you’re not careful!

Soft tacos or hard tacos?  How about both – but how about both combined to make one crazy insane super chewy crispy taco?  I know, it sounds like an excessive amount of carbs, and you’re probably right, but it’s Sunday – do it if it feels good! 

it’s hard to take a picture of a taco!!

We actually spend a good chunk of the afternoon at the Red Deer Public Library, chilling in the Quiet Zone – Nick lasted for about an hour and a half, not all active “reading” time, but delightfully “silent” for almost all of it!  Todd got to read his book, Nick got some new ones and I checked out a couple of cookbooks, and one of them is where tonight’s dinner idea came from!  East-coaster Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen – I enjoy his tv show and dig his vibe on cooking, I think this is actually a book I would pay for because it’s full of great ideas!! 

The other book I got was David Rocco’s Dolce Vita – another Canadian Food TV celeb – another book I would totally buy!  Can’t wait to bust out some of his super simple recipes!!

For tonight’s dinner, the flavour of the beef filling is amazing – I don’t think I will ever need to buy the Old El Paso taco dinner kit again – this has awesome flavour and has like 1% of the sodium that the other stuff would have!!  If you’re turned off by taco inside of tortilla, at least give this taco filling a shot – it’s great!  Dinner came together pretty quick – definitely something you could bust out on a weeknight!

Crispy Chewy Double Taco (from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen)
Filling Ingredients:
2 tbsp canola oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 white onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 large ripe roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp hot sauce
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Tacos:
8 crisp corn taco shells
1 cup Tex-Mex blend grated cheese
8 small soft flour tortillas
sour cream
salsa
shredded lettuce
handful of fresh cilantro

Method:
Preheat the oven to 450degrees.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Cook the ground beef, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up as you go.  When the meat is cooked through, but NOT browned, chuck in your onions, garlic and spices and continue cooking until fragrant – about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, ketchup and hot sauce and simmer until heat through.  Season with salt & pepper.

Line a baking dish with parchment paper (I did not do this step and was super annoyed at having to clean the cooked on cheese!  ugh pet peeve!!)  Divide the beef filling evenly into the hard taco shells and top with some of the cheese.  Chuck into the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes – remember your oven is at 450degrees – i.e. HOT – so the cheese will melt quick – don’t forget about it!

I really enjoyed cleaning up this pan afterwards!!

Meanwhile and if you’re fast, lay out the tortillas and coat with a decent layer of sour cream, even add some salsa and lettuce at this point.

Remove the tacos out of the oven and position on the top half of a prepared tortilla.  Fold over and yep – crispy chewy double tacos are served!   Does anyone remember these commercials?  Drop the chalupa. 

My tortillas were more “medium” in size, so needed to be wrapped around the taco!!

Are you ready for the fluffiest pancake ever?  I adapted a recipe from the Whole Foods Market site – they have lots of great recipes! 

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp canola oil
sliced fresh fruit for serving
optional: cooking spray

Method:
Heat your griddle over medium-high heat.  If you have a really good non-stick griddle or frying pan, then you can probably forego the cooking spray, but if you’re unsure use the cooking spray – don’t want any burnt pancakes!!

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, milk, agave and canola oil.

Slowly add the dried ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix really well and you’re ready to start cooking!

Carefully spoon the batter onto the griddle and cook for a couple minutes, until golden brown. Then flip!

I was worried about the little cottage cheese chunks being really obvious and grossing out the kid but they totally melt and I think are what contributes to the fluffiness of these pancakes!!

You should get about 12 pancakes out of this batter – they turn out so creamy and fluffy – I can’t get over it – never have made pancakes quite like this before – they were gobbled uplike nobody’s business!

The other night I whipped up a variation of Everyday Food Light’s recipe for “Caesar Salad with Spicy Shrimp” – I had to MacGuyver it a bit, but it turned into a really interesting variation of a caesar salad – a good main-course salad – and unique because instead of croutons, this salad is served with crispy corn tortillas.

Caesar Salad with Shrimp (adapted from Everyday Food Light)
Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
1 lb large shrimp
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1-2 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces

Method:
Preheat oven to 375degrees.  Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil (using 1 tsp of the oil), then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of the chili powder, salt & pepper. Bake for 5 minutes on each side; remove from oven and break into pieces.

Before…
…After

While that’s going on, make your dressing: combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, parmesan, anchovy paste and garlic in a small bowl.  Add water to get to the right consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Get the lettuce chopped and ready and get your shrimp on the go.

Toss the shrimp with the remaining chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Heat the last tsp of oil in a non-stick skillet and cook for about 4 minutes per side.

As the shrimp is cooking, toss the lettuce with some of the dressing and divide salad between serving plates.  Top with the cooked shrimp, parmesan and some more cracked pepper.

nom

Something great happened yesterday!  I won a contest on A Running Tale and was presented with a big bag of all of Lindsey’s favourites from her favourite store Trader Joe’s.  Amazing amazing products and now I need to get my butt down to AZ STAT!!!  I can see why Lindsey is obsessed!!  Thanks!  Check out my score:

Check out Lindsey’s V-Log for descriptions of these delights!

Todd does not like curry.  He doesn’t like the way it smells and doesn’t like the way tastes. That is, until he tried this crazy curry.  He even took all the left-overs for lunch today!!  Am I at the brink of curry revolution in this household?  Hmmmm… that remains to be seen, but check out this recipe:

Curried Rice Noodles with Stir-Fried Pork (adapted from Canadian Living mini-mag “Stir-Fries”)
Ingredients:
1 lb pork tenderloin
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp vegetable oil
half onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cups broco-slaw or Asian salad kit with cabbage, brocolli & carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp sambal oelek
2 little bundles of vermicelli rice noodles

Method:
Cut the pork tenderloin down the centre lengthwise.  Using a meat mallot, bash that pork until it’s about 1/2″ thick.  Cut crosswise into strips and toss with cornstarch and 2 tbsp water.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Aggressions of the day: bye bye

Get all your bits and pieces chopped and ready; this is a stir-fry yo – it comes together QUICK! Soak the vermicelli noodles in hot water until pliable – drain and set aside.  Make your sauce by combining 3 tbsp water, soy sauce, curry, agave & sambal oelek – set aside.  In a large skillet or wok, heat half the oil over medium high heat and stir-fry the pork until browned but still pink inside.  Transfer to a plate and then wipe out the wok.

Add the remaining oil and heat up again.  Stir fry the onion, garlic and ginger for about a minute.  Add the broco-slaw, cabbage, whatever you used along with the red pepper; stir-fry until tender crisp.  Add the sauce.  Add the pork and any accumlated juces, and the noodles. Continue to stir fry until heated through.

Garnish with the green onions and serve right away!!  It tastes really fresh and I was amazed that a curry-hater gobbled it up!!  Curry success!!

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