Summer Salads with Jane’s Adventure In Dinner

We’re excited to have Jane from Jane’s Adventure In Dinner as our guest today. Jane’s blog is a go-to for everything from appetizers to desserts. She’s passionate about food like no other, but as a busy mom she also understands that recipes need to be both delicious and do-able. Regardless of your cooking level (ahem, I am still a beginner after all of these years) Jane is the best teacher and you’re in capable hands with her step-by-step instruction . . .accompanied by gorgeous photos!

Today Jane shares simple salads that are perfect for the hot days of summer. Be sure to follow Jane’s website for meal inspiration and instruction. You won’t be disappointed.

Jane’s Summer Salad

I start with a nice big plate and drizzle it with 2 tsp. balsamic glaze.

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I added a layer (about 1 ½ cups) of spring greens.

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I took a firm pear (I’m a sucker for Anjou) and cut it into 6 wedges. I took out the core and started to lay it on the greens.

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Add 3 T Roquefort (or your favourite blue cheese) to the centre. Don’t like blue cheese? How about some Boursin or an herby cream cheese?

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Fold the pear pieces back together, top with toasted walnuts and drizzle with a really good quality olive oil.

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Drizzle on a bit more glaze . . .

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And add cracked pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Classic Salad Update

We seem to just live off the bbq in the summer.

I love to cook but I really like to keep the house cool and I’m not a huge fan of running the air conditioning all the time.

We’ve gotten used to having our little 1950’s bungalow vent itself for the most part and even though it’s lots bigger after the reno (yes, I promise to finally get all the pictures together this summer, I’ve got 1000’s) we designed the build to allow for our original airflow.

Having said that, if the oven is on all the time then nothing can keep the house cool so bbq it is.

I’ve been playing with a number of salad recipes lately that I’ll be sharing with everyone in the next couple of weeks but this is one that we’ve now had at least six times since I was happy with the recipe.

Hope you love it too.

To serve four adults for an appetizer start with four romaine hearts cut in half.

Bring them to room temperature, drizzle with olive oil, 3 crushed garlic cloves and lots of crushed, crunchy black pepper.

Let sit for 30 minutes.

Grill on high on each side JUST until a little charred.  This is about 30 seconds a side.

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While your one and only is grilling your lettuce (thinking that you are totally mental with your weird cooking ideas), crisp pancetta (I got super thin pieces that you blink at and they are cooked), or cook four really good pieces of bacon and crumble.

Put your yummy lettuce on a platter and top with; bacon/pancetta, slivers of parmesan, chunky croutons…

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drizzle with lemon juice.

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Plate one half per person (trust me, folks will be back for the other half) with plenty of pancetta and drizzle with balsamic glaze (you can find this all over the place OR boil balsamic until it is half its volume).

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Follow Jane on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Guilty Kitchen’s Kale and Bison Roll-ups

Today, Elizabeth Nyland from Guilty Kitchen will be sharing one of her go-to healthy recipes. Elizabeth is a self-proclaimed fitness and foodie bad-ass who knows a thing or two about over-coming adversity. She makes no excuses and has forged her own path to wellness, weight-loss and feeling great! Need some fit-spiration? Check out Guilty Kitchen the blog or follow Elizabeth on Instagram.

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Ever wonder what to do with all of that kale besides boring old kale chips?

Are you a member of a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture? CSAs are springing up all over North America as convenient ways to eat locally produced foods. Farmers produce a crop (be it vegetable, animal, fruit, fish or eggs) and people buy shares. The product is delivered to your door or picked up at farm stands in your neighbourhood. CSAs provide a great way for anyone and everyone to participate in supporting local farmers. The farmer is assured his crop will be sold, and you, the buyer get to enjoy fresh, local food at better then market value (most of the time).

But what happens when you receive a lot of the same vegetable? Worse, you keep getting a vegetable that you have no idea what to do with or have very little use for? I often see kale as a popular CSA vegetable as it is as easy as weeds to grow and makes for a great addition to any CSA box. The problem is, most people don’t know what to do with it beyond sautéing, green smoothies, making it into the ever popular kale “chip” or throwing it chopped up into their salads or mashed potatoes. But kale has many uses indeed.

Kale is a wonderful vegetable filled with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, omega-3 fats, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorus and vitamin B3. It’s a super vegetable!

It’s also delicious and for anyone following low carb, paleo, gluten free or grain free diets, it’s a miracle in the wrap department! Lettuce makes a convenient wrap, but kale is far superior in the health department.

So if your CSA box is filling your fridge with kale leaves and you’ve had just about enough of green smoothies and kale chips, then try this great wrap for dinner. It also saves well for leftovers the next day, a self contained lunch for anyone on the go.

Kale Wraps 1-2

Kale and Bison Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • 6 large kale leaves
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 500g extra lean grass fed ground beef or bison (or a mixture of the two)
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (optional garnish)
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced (optional garnish)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. Cut the stems off the Kale at the bottom of the leaf. Flip the kale over and run the knife parallel to the leaf (along the stem) to make it flatter. This will also help when you bite into it.
  2. Fill a pot fitted with a steamer attachment with two inches of water. Bring to a boil and arrange leaves flat in the steamer. Steam for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on towels. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a heavy saucepan (cast iron is best), heat coconut oil until hot. Place the onion and garlic in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are browned. Add in the other vegetables and cook until softened.
  4. Add in the ground meat and cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until browned. Season with salt, pepper, coconut aminos and other spices. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Place a large spoonful of the meat mixture onto a flattened and laid out kale leaf, top with optional garnishes. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the meat, then each side into the middle and finally roll up like a burrito. Set seam side down on plates and serve.
  6. These are great dipped in creamy aiolis and served with a side salad!

Kale Wraps 2-2

Dinner, Solved!

Today, Colleen de Wit of I Heart Cooking, shares her favourite cooking tips and two easy-peasy recipes (so easy in fact, that I can make them!).

Don’t be scared. I’m not here to lecture you on mapping out your dinner plans in a spreadsheet for the next 2 weeks. Dinnertime doesn’t need to be complicated, and can even be * gasp * yummy and exciting. Here are my top dinner tips along with two of my favourite recipes.

Menu planning doesn’t need to be rigid. If you’re not a “list person”, make a general plan for the week. Buy groceries for 5 meals, but don’t have them planned for any particular day. Or maybe you’ll just decide what type of meat you’ll have all week (3 fish, 1 chicken, 1 pork) but you’re not sure which recipe you’ll use till 5pm that day. Or maybe you’re only going to plan 1 meal a week, on your family’s busiest day. Plan your meals in the way that suits your household.

Cook dinner at a time that works best for you. There’s no rule that says that dinner must be made in one continuous motion starting at 5pm. I have been known to chop vegetables at 9am, because that’s when my son is less likely to be attached to my leg. If you have a moment in the day (or evening), try to do some prep on your dinner. Every little bit helps.

Write down your meals on the calendar. That way, if you’re stuck for a dinner idea, scan through the past few weeks to get a bit of inspiration. (or if you forget what you’ve planned to eat for dinner, you can easily find the answer)

Use helpful kitchen appliances. Rice cookers and vegetable steamers are great gadgets that can save you time and energy. Although they usually take a bit longer to cook food than the traditional stovetop method, you don’t have to hover over the stove and most have an automatic shut-off feature. No more burned rice or soggy veggies!

Spanish Style Mish-Mash

Give this recipe a chance to prove its deliciousness. I was skeptical at first, but once I made this it has become one of my favourites. Don’t forget the parsley!

½  pkg of frozen, uncooked medium sized shrimp (get the peeled kind to make your life easier)

2 hot Italian or chorizo sausages

1 onion

1 tomato, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp hot chili flakes (or 1 jalapeno finely chopped if you so desire)

¼ c sliced pimento stuffed green olives (I omit these when I make this recipe)

1 ½ tsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

10 oz can chicken broth

1 cup couscous

¼ c chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Place shrimp in a colander and rinse under cold water until thawed. Pat dry with a paper towel. Thickly slice sausage. Oil a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Add sausage to pan and stir often until lightly browned (about 4-5 minutes). Coarsely chop onion and add to sausages. Stir frequently until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.

While the onion and sausages are cooking, chop the tomato, garlic, olives and jalapeno (if using). Add to pan along with the oregano and paprika. Stir occasionally until tomato starts to break down—about 2 minutes. Add broth and shrimp, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil. As soon as shrimp turns pink, stir in couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and sprinkle with parsley.

Tex Mex Sloppy Joes

Not your usual sloppy joes. Great flavour and slightly fancier with the addition of crusty bread and avocadoes.

1 lb ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1 700mL jar of pasta sauce, preferably spicy (like spicy red pepper)

1 cup salsa

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp tabasco (optional)

grated cheese

sour cream

avocado

tomato

shredded lettuce

Crusty bread (French bread, ciabatta, etc)

Lightly coat a large saucepan with oil and set over medium heat. Crumble beef into pan. Sprinkle with onion and garlic. Using a fork, break up and stir meat until its no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain off excess liquid.

Add sauce, salsa, oregano, cumin and tabasco. Stirring often, bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and gently simmer about 10 minutes. Spoon sauce over slices of crusty bread. Top with cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado and tomatoes.

*Colleen won the Home Ec award in 8th grade and never looked back. She is the owner of I Heart Cooking, where her aim is to boost your confidence and abilities in the kitchen. Check out www.iheartcooking.ca or www.facebook.com/iheartcooking.ca