Category Archives: My Recipes & Reviews

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

Spring is in the air, and that means salad season is here! I want lots of big, beautiful, fresh salads full of awesome, yummy ingredients. With Easter around the corner, we’re all on the lookout for delicious dishes to make for a big group dinner, so I’ve decided to share this Big Italian Salad with you just for the occasion.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

My boyfriend is half Italian so over the years my consumption of olives, cured meat and artichokes has increased, and you could say, they have added more flavour to my life (though, he might have a little something to do with that too!). We try our very best to eat salads regularly, but find it challenging to keep ‘em interesting. There’s only so much tomato and cucumber you can consume before you hit a salad slump. And let’s face it, when all is said and done, I’m a meat and carbs kind of gal.

Yum. Meat.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

But the great thing about my Big Italian Salad is, it has meat! And cheese! The parmesan and salami add just the right amount of salty creaminess. Fresh romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet bursts of cherry tomatoes, crunchy licorice-infused fennel and velvety artichokes. Finally, the bright pop of the olives brings the whole salad to life.

This, my friends, is not your average, boring salad.

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad

A light, lemony vinaigrette that incorporates some of the artichoke marinade ties the whole dish together. Before you can say “you can’t make friends with salad” you’ll be happily chowing down on a big mouthful of all things Italian.

Big Italian Salad
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Big Italian Salad

This Big Italian Salad is full of awesome, fresh ingredients. Romaine lettuce and bitter radicchio are topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy fennel, creamy artichokes and salty salami, olives and parmesan.
Course Healthy, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 small head of Romaine lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 small radicchio finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 half fennel thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green and kalamata olives pitted and finely sliced
  • 2 ounces salami or your fave cured meat finely diced
  • 227 grams marinated artichokes finely sliced, marinade reserved
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggianocheese grated

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
  • 1 half lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cheese in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or medium bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil. Slowly add oil while whisking or mixing on low.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle cheese over top. Toss and serve immediately.

I could seriously eat this entire bowl in one sitting. The salad is so fresh and lightly dressed that all the other flavours are allowed stand out, and it’s addictive. But, one must learn to share, so here you go my friends, some salad to go with your roasted ham.

What are you making for your big Easter dinner?  Let me know if you liked my Big Italian Salad and what type of cured meat is your favourite!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

My love for lamb has grown steadily over the years to the point where I prefer lamb over a beef burger. Lamb meat has an earthier, more complex flavour than beef. I find that it tends to be juicier and bonus: way more health benefits. From Shepherd’s Pie to lasagna, I post a lot about this gamey protein. Surprisingly, I haven’t posted tacos, and you know how much I love Taco Tuesday! So I decided that for St. Patrick’s Day, I would make some special Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos, just for you.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

St. Patrick’s Day is bittersweet for me. I never got into the festivities when I was at university because I didn’t live in residence and missed out campus life. It wasn’t until I met my half Irish ex-husband that I started celebrating this day. Our first date was at an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s so whenever I see drunken folk clad in green, it reminds me of him. Not in a bad way, but in a no-regrets-fond-memories kind of way.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

This taco recipe is based on my Slow Cooked Lamb recipe that features my latest food find: lamb from Costco.

Gotta love $35 for a leg of lamb!

The only change I made to my original recipe is I swapped the wine and beef broth for, you guessed it – beer! I covered the lamb with a whole can of Guinness, because on St. Paddy’s no beer can go to waste. How I love to cook with booze! The strong Irish stout cuts through the fatty lamb and adds a whole level of richness to the meat. The result? Tender fall-apart lamb infused with hints of espresso and caramel. Oh yeah baby, tonight is your lucky taco night!

I loaded this taco with a wallop of fresh guacamole, arugula, caramelized onions and banana peppers and topped the lamb with organic salsa, feta cheese and my favourite hot sauce.

Half a lamb leg still makes a ton of meat. We had enough taco meat for four people, and I turned the remaining lamb and root vegetables into a ragu.  An endless supply of lamb is always a good thing!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
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Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos! Fresh corn tortillas are packed with tender lamb, fresh guacamole and arugula, grilled banana peppers, caramelized onions and topped with feta cheese and organic salsa. May the spirit of the Irish live on through these deliciously rich tacos!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

For the lamb

  • 3 pounds leg of lamb approx half a leg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and trimmed
  • half a lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds root vegetables ie. squash, carrots, parsnips
  • 1 500ml can Guinness beer

For the tacos

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, trimmed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for greasing
  • half a lemon quartered
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 banana peppers trimmed, seeds removed and sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions trimmed, peeled and sliced
  • 16 fresh corn tortillas
  • 2 cups arugula roughly chopped
  • 170 grams feta cheese crumbled
  • half cup organic salsa
  • your favourite hot sauce

Instructions

For the lamb

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb over top of root vegetables in slow cooker and pour beer over top.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, lamb from slow cooker and pull large chunks apart using a carving fork. reserve root vegetables for later use.

For the tacos

  1. Combine avocados, garlic, olive oil and juice from two lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grease cast iron pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute banana peppers and onions until lightly browned, approx 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, place tortillas on a plate and wrap in syran wrap. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Top corn tortilla with guacamole, arugula, lamb, peppers and onions. Sprinkle feta cheese, lemon and a tablespoon of salsa over top. Add hot sauce to taste.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

So if you’re feeling the spirit of the Irish, throw some beer in your slow cooker and honour St. Patrick with these awesome tacos!

What food do you make to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  Did you like the addition of beer to these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos?

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

 

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

I’m still reeling from last night’s crazy Oscars!  I took a risk and voted for Moonlight, so when the La La Land win was overturned I was jumping with joy!  Not only was this film so deserving of Best Pic, but Moonlight was the winning point on my ballot and I won the pool at my annual Oscar party.  I love thinking up thematic foods for each film – and I made this Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo for Moonlight.  Everyone loved this traditional Latin American chicken and rice fiesta.  A winning dish for a winning film!

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo- for the full Oscar night menu

When I watched Moonlight, I knew that Arroz Con Pollo would be the best dish to represent this beautiful film. There is a moving scene involving the main character, Chiron when he visits his childhood friend, Kevin.  Kevin works in a diner and insists that Chiron try the Chef’s Special: Arroz Con Pollo.  You’ll have to watch the film to see how the rest of the scene plays out!

Typically, a roasted chicken leg rests overtop a mountain of Spanish rice.  However, since I was using a crock pot, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which work better for slow cooking. As for the other ingredients, they’re pretty straightforward.  The yellow saffron Spanish rice I found at the local Metro grocery store, no problem.

A healthy, super easy dish to make, this slow cooker recipe is ideal for a family-style dinner, or if you have a baby shower on the day of a big party!  Tender, shredded chicken is nestled among the slightly smoky, tomato infused saffron rice and sweet vegetables.  Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce for a bit more kick, along with some plain yogurt to cool your dancing tastebuds.

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Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

This delicious Latin America rice and chicken dish can be made in the slow cooker. Light, fluffy saffron rice soaks up the flavours of the vegetables and chicken. Reminisce about the Oscar winning movie Moonlight as you make Kevin's "Chef's Special" for someone you love!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Cuisine Latin American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 8 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil I use avocado oil for cooking, but olive oil is fine too!
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables a mixed bag with peas, carrots and corn works well
  • 1 8 oz box yellow saffron Spanish rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 handful fresh parsely chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt for serving
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges for serving
  • hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until vegetables have softened and are lightly browned, around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Add chicken, remaining broth, diced tomatoes, frozen vegetables, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Coat evenly with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  5. At the 6 hour mark (or 2 hour mark on high) add rice to slow cooker and stir well.
  6. Top with fresh parsely. Serve with lime wedges, yogurt and hot sauce on the side.

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

What did you make for your Oscar party?  Have you seen Moonlight?  What did you think of the scene featuring Arroz Con Pollo?